Transcriptional activity of the islet β cell factor Pdx1 Is augmented by lysine methylation catalyzed by the methyltransferase Set7/9

Aarthi V. Maganti, Bernhard Maier, Sarah A. Tersey, Megan L. Sampley, Amber L. Mosley, Sabire Özcan, Boobalan Pachaiyappan, Patrick M. Woster, Chad S. Hunter, Roland Stein, Raghavendra G. Mirmira

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37 Scopus citations


The transcription factor Pdx1 is crucial to islet β cell function and regulates target genes in part through interaction with coregulatory factors. Set7/9 is a Lys methyltransferase that interacts with Pdx1. Here we tested the hypothesis that Lys methylation of Pdx1 by Set7/9 augments Pdx1 transcriptional activity. Using mass spectrometry and mutational analysis of purified proteins, we found that Set7/9 methylates the N-terminal residues Lys-123 and Lys-131 of Pdx1. Methylation of these residues occurred only in the context of intact, full-length Pdx1, suggesting a specific requirement of secondary and/or tertiary structural elements for catalysis by Set7/9. Immunoprecipitation assays and mass spectrometric analysis using β cells verified Lys methylation of endogenous Pdx1. Cell-based luciferase reporter assays using wild-type and mutant transgenes revealed a requirement of Pdx1 residue Lys-131, but not Lys-123, for transcriptional augmentation by Set7/9. Lys-131 was not required for high-affinity interactions with DNA in vitro, suggesting that its methylation likely enhances post-DNA binding events. To define the role of Set7/9 in β cell function, we generated mutant mice in which the gene encoding Set7/9 was conditionally deleted in β cells (Set Δβ). SetΔβ mice exhibited glucose intolerance similar to Pdx1-deficient mice, and their isolated islets showed impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion with reductions in expression of Pdx1 target genes. Our results suggest a previously unappreciated role for Set7/9-mediated methylation in the maintenance of Pdx1 activity and β cell function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9812-9822
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - Apr 10 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Published in the U.S.A.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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