Regulation of estrogen receptor α by histone methyltransferase SMYD2-mediated protein methylation

Xi Zhang, Kaori Tanaka, Jiusheng Yan, Jing Li, Danni Peng, Yuanyuan Jiang, Zhe Yang, Michelle C. Barton, Hong Wen, Xiaobing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) is a ligand-activated transcription factor. Upon estrogen stimulation, ERα recruits a number of coregulators, including both coactivators and corepressors, to the estrogen response elements, modulating gene activation or repression. Most coregulator complexes contain histone-modifying enzymes to control ERα target gene expression in an epigenetic manner. In addition to histones, these epigenetic modifiers canmodify nonhistone proteins including ERα, thereby constituting another layer of transcriptional regulation. Here we show that SET and MYND domain containing 2 (SMYD2), a histone H3K4 andH3K36methyltransferase, directly methylates ERα protein at lysine 266 (K266) both in vitro and in cells. In breast cancer MCF7 cells, SMYD2 attenuates the chromatin recruitment of ERα to prevent ERα target gene activation under an estrogen-depleted condition. Importantly, the SMYD2-mediated repression of ERα target gene expression is mediated by the methylation of ERα at K266 in the nucleus, but not themethylation of histone H3K4. Upon estrogen stimulation, ERα-K266 methylation is diminished, thereby enabling p300/cAMP response element-binding protein- binding protein to acetylate ERα at K266, which is known to promote ERα transactivation activity. Our study identifies a previously undescribed inhibitory methylation event on ERα. Our data suggest that the dynamic cross-talk between SMYD2-mediated ERα protein methylation and p300/cAMP response element-binding protein- binding protein-dependent ERα acetylation plays an important role in fine-tuning the functions of ERα at chromatin and the estrogen- induced gene expression profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17284-17289
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 22 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ERα hinge region
  • LSD1
  • Lysine methylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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