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The Activity of JmjC Histone Lysine Demethylase KDM4A is Highly Sensitive to Oxygen Concentrations

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Akane Kawamura



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 American Chemical Society. The JmjC histone lysine demethylases (KDMs) are epigenetic regulators involved in the removal of methyl groups from post-translationally modified lysyl residues within histone tails, modulating gene transcription. These enzymes require molecular oxygen for catalytic activity and, as 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)-dependent oxygenases, are related to the cellular oxygen sensing HIF hydroxylases PHD2 and FIH. Recent studies have indicated that the activity of some KDMs, including the pseudogene-encoded KDM4E, may be sensitive to changing oxygen concentrations. Here, we report detailed analysis of the effect of oxygen availability on the activity of the KDM4 subfamily member KDM4A, importantly demonstrating a high level of O2 sensitivity both with isolated protein and in cells. Kinetic analysis of the recombinant enzyme revealed a high KMapp(O2) of 173 ± 23 μM, indicating that the activity of the enzyme is able to respond sensitively to a reduction in oxygen concentration. Furthermore, immunofluorescence experiments in U2OS cells conditionally overexpressing KDM4A showed that the cellular activity of KDM4A against its primary substrate, H3K9me3, displayed a graded response to depleting oxygen concentrations in line with the data obtained using isolated protein. These results suggest that KDM4A possesses the potential to act as an oxygen sensor in the context of chromatin modifications, with possible implications for epigenetic regulation in hypoxic disease states. Importantly, this correlation between the oxygen sensitivity of the catalytic activity of KDM4A in biochemical and cellular assays demonstrates the utility of biochemical studies in understanding the factors contributing to the diverse biological functions and varied activity of the 2OG oxygenases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hancock RL, Masson N, Dunne K, Flashman E, Kawamura A

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ACS Chemical Biology

Year: 2017

Volume: 12

Issue: 4

Pages: 1011-1019

Print publication date: 21/04/2017

Online publication date: 04/01/2017

Acceptance date: 04/01/2017

Date deposited: 14/10/2019

ISSN (print): 1554-8929

ISSN (electronic): 1554-8937

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00958

PubMed id: 28051298


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