Targeting H3K4 trimethylation in Huntington disease

Malini Vashishtha, Christopher W. Ng, Ferah Yildirim, Theresa A. Gipson, Ian H. Kratter, Laszlo Bodai, Wan Song, Alice Lau, Adam Labadorf, Annie Vogel-Ciernia, Juan Troncosco, Christopher A. Ross, Gillian P. Bates, Dimitri Krainc, Ghazaleh Sadri-Vakili, Steven Finkbeiner, J. Lawrence Marsh, David E. Housman*, Ernest Fraenkel, Leslie M. Thompson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


Transcriptional dysregulation is an early feature of Huntington disease (HD). We observed gene-specific changes in histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) at transcriptionally repressed promoters in R6/2 mouse and human HD brain. Genome-wide analysis showed a chromatin signature for this mark. Reducing the levels of the H3K4 demethylase SMCX/Jarid1c in primary neurons reversed down-regulation of key neuronal genes caused by mutant Huntingtin expression. Finally, reduction of SMCX/Jarid1c in primary neurons from BACHD mice or the single Jarid1 in a Drosophila HD model was protective. Therefore, targeting this epigenetic signature may be an effective strategy to ameliorate the consequences of HD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E3027-E3036
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 6 2013


  • Neurodegeneration
  • Polyglutamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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