Carbonell A, Mazo A, Serras F, Corominas M.
The molting hormone ecdysone triggers chromatin changes via histone modifications that are important for gene regulation. On hormone activation, the ecdysone receptor (EcR) binds to the SET domain-containing histone H3 methyltransferase trithorax-related protein (Trr). Methylation of histone H3 at lysine 4 (H3K4me), which is associated with transcriptional activation, requires several cofactors, including Ash2. We have found that ash2 mutants have severe defects in pupariation and metamorphosis due to a lack of activation of ecdysone-responsive genes. This transcriptional defect is caused by the absence of the H3K4me3 marks set by Trr in these genes. We present evidence that Ash2 interacts with Trr and is required for its stabilization. Thus, we propose that Ash2 functions together with Trr as an ecdysone receptor coactivator.