Denis H, Deplus R, Putmans P, Yamada M, Métivier R, Fuks F
Histone methylation plays key roles in regulating chromatin structure and function. The recent identification of enzymes that antagonize or remove histone methylation offers new opportunities to appreciate histone methylation plasticity in the regulation of epigenetic pathways. Peptidylarginine deiminase 4 (PADI4; also known as PAD4) was the first enzyme shown to antagonize histone methylation. PADI4 functions as a histone deiminase converting a methylarginine residue to citrulline at specific sites on the tails of histones H3 and H4. This activity is linked to repression of the estrogen-regulated pS2 promoter. Very little is known as to how PADI4 silences gene expression. We show here that PADI4 associates with the histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1). Kinetic chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that PADI4 and HDAC1, and the corresponding activities, associate cyclically and coordinately with the pS2 promoter during repression phases. Knockdown of HDAC1 led to decreased H3 citrullination, concomitantly with increased histone arginine methylation. In cells with a reduced HDAC1 and a slightly decreased PADI4 level, these effects were more pronounced. Our data thus suggest that PADI4 and HDAC1 collaborate to generate a repressive chromatin environment on the pS2 promoter. These findings further substantiate the "transcriptional clock" concept, highlighting the dynamic connection between deimination and deacetylation of histones.