G9a is a SET-domain mammalian histone methyltransferase responsible for mono- and dimethylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 (H3K9) at euchromatic regions. Recently we reported that G9a forms a stoichiometric heteromeric complex with another SET-domain-containing molecule, GLP/Eu-HMTase1. Although G9a and GLP can independently methylate H3K9 in vitro, G9a/GLP heteromeric formation seems to be essential for their function as a euchromatic H3K9 methyltransferase in vivo. To further elucidate how G9a/GLP-mediated histone methylation and transcriptional regulation are controlled, we purified and characterized G9a complexes from mouse embryonic stem cells. We identified a novel G9a/GLP-associating zinc finger molecule named Wiz that can interact with G9a and GLP independently but is more stable in the G9a/GLP heteromeric complexes. Interestingly, Wiz small inhibitory RNA knocks down not only Wiz but also G9a. GLP deficiency also decreases G9a levels, suggesting that the Wiz/G9a/GLP tri-complex may protect G9a from degradation and that Wiz plays a major role in G9a/GLP heterodimer formation. Furthermore, amino acid sequence analysis of Wiz predicted two potential CtBP binding sites, and indeed CtBP binding to Wiz and association of CtBP with the Wiz/G9a/GLP complex was observed. These data indicate that Wiz not only contributes to the stability of G9a but also links the G9a/GLP heteromeric complex to the CtBP co-repressor machinery.
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