Histone variants and histone modification complexes act to regulate the functions of chromatin. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae the histone variant H2A.Z is encoded by HTZ1. Htz1 is dispensable for viability in budding yeast, but htz1Δ is synthetic sick or lethal with the null alleles of about 200 nonessential genes. One of the strongest of these interactions is with the deletion of SET3, which encodes a subunit of the Set3/Hos2 histone deacetylase complex. Little is known about the functions of Set3, and interpreting these genetic interactions remains a highly challenging task. Here we report the results of a forward genetic screen to identify bypass suppressors of the synthetic slow-growth phenotype of htz1Δ set3Δ. Among the identified loss-of-function suppressors are genes encoding subunits of the HDA1 deacetylase complex, the SWR1 complex, the H2B deubiquitination module of SAGA, the proteasome, Set1, and Sir3. This constellation of suppressor genes is uncommon among the global set of htz1Δ synthetic interactions. BDF1, AHC1, RMR1, and CYC8 were identified as high-copy suppressors. We also identified interactions with SLX5 and SLX8, encoding the sumoylation-targeted ubiquitin ligase complex. In the context of htz1Δ set3Δ, suppressors in the SWR1 and the H2B deubiquitination complexes show strong functional similarity, as do suppressors in the silencing genes and the proteasome. Surprisingly, while both htz1Δ set3Δ and swr1Δ set3Δ have severe slow-growth phenotypes, the htz1Δ swr1Δ set3Δ triple mutant grows relatively well. We propose that Set3 has previously unrecognized functions in the dynamic deposition and remodeling of nucleosomes containing H2A.Z.
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