AF9 YEATS domain links histone acetylation to DOT1L-mediated H3K79 methylation

Yuanyuan Li, Hong Wen, Yuanxin Xi, Kaori Tanaka, Haibo Wang, Danni Peng, Yongfeng Ren, Qihuang Jin, Sharon Y.R. Dent, Wei Li, Haitao Li, Xiaobing Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

263 Scopus citations


The recognition of modified histones by "reader" proteins constitutes a key mechanism regulating gene expression in the chromatin context. Compared with the great variety of readers for histone methylation, few protein modules that recognize histone acetylation are known. Here, we show that the AF9 YEATS domain binds strongly to histone H3K9 acetylation and, to a lesser extent, H3K27 and H3K18 acetylation. Crystal structural studies revealed that AF9 YEATS adopts an eight-stranded immunoglobin fold and utilizes a serine-lined aromatic "sandwiching" cage for acetyllysine readout, representing a novel recognition mechanism that is distinct from that of known acetyllysine readers. ChIP-seq experiments revealed a strong colocalization of AF9 and H3K9 acetylation genome-wide, which is important for the chromatin recruitment of the H3K79 methyltransferase DOT1L. Together, our studies identified the evolutionarily conserved YEATS domain as a novel acetyllysine-binding module and established a direct link between histone acetylation and DOT1L-mediated H3K79 methylation in transcription control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)558-571
Number of pages14
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 23 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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