In this study, we show that a reduction in the levels of the JIL-1 histone H3S10 kinase results in the spreading of the major heterochromatin markers dimethyl H3K9 and HP1 to ectopic locations on the chromosome arms, with the most pronounced increase on the X chromosomes. Genetic interaction assays demonstrated that JIL-1 functions in vivo in a pathway that includes Su(var)3-9, which is a major catalyst for dimethylation of the histone H3K9 residue, HP1 recruitment, and the formation of silenced heterochromatin. We further provide evidence that JIL-1 activity and localization are not affected by the absence of Su(var)3-9 activity, suggesting that JIL-1 is upstream of Su(var)3-9 in the pathway. Based on these findings, we propose a model where JIL-1 kinase activity functions to maintain euchromatic regions by antagonizing Su(var)3-9-mediated heterochromatization.
- Histone modifications
- JIL-1 kinase