Methylation of histone H3 lysine-79 by Dot1p plays multiple roles in the response to UV damage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Various proteins have been found to play roles in both the repair of UV damaged DNA and heterochromatin-mediated silencing in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In particular, factors that are involved in the methylation of lysine-79 of histone H3 by Dot1p have been implicated in both processes, suggesting a bipartite function for this modification. We find that a dot1 null mutation and a histone H3 point mutation at lysine-79 cause increased sensitivity to UV radiation, suggesting that lysine-79 methylation is important for efficient repair of UV damage. Epistasis analysis between dot1 and various UV repair genes indicates that lysine-79 methylation plays overlapping roles within the nucleotide excision, post-replication and recombination repair pathways, as well as RAD9-mediated checkpoint function. In contrast, epistasis analysis with the H3 lysine-79 point mutation indicates that the lysine-to-glutamic acid substitution exerts specific effects within the nucleotide excision repair and post-replication repair pathways, suggesting that this allele only disrupts a subset of the functions of lysine-79 methylation. The overall results indicate the existence of distinct and separable roles of histone H3 lysine-79 methylation in the response to UV damage, potentially serving to coordinate the various repair processes.