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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in Epigenetics & Chromatin 2011, 4:18. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1186/1756-8935-4-18. ©BioMed Central Ltd.



BACKGROUND: Histone methylation is regulated by a large number of histone methyltransferases and demethylases. The recently discovered SMCX/KMD5C demethylase has been shown to remove methyl residues from lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3K4), and constitutes an important component of the regulatory element-1-silencing transcription factor (REST) protein complex. However, little is known about the cellular mechanisms that control SMCX activity and intracellular trafficking.

RESULTS: In this study, we found that small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown of proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) resulted in the reduction of the chromatin-bound SMCX fraction. We identified a PCNA-interaction protein motif (PIP box) in the SMCX protein. Using site-directed mutagenesis, we found that the amino acids of the SMCX PIP box are involved in the association of SMCX with PCNA and its interaction with chromatin.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that the intracellular trafficking of SMCX is controlled by its association with PCNA.

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