Association of ORCA/LRWD1 with repressive histone methyl transferases mediates heterochromatin organization

Sumanprava Giri, Supriya G. Prasanth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Heterochromatin mostly constitutes tightly packaged DNA, decorated with repressive histone marks, including histone H3 methylated at lysine 9, histone H4 methylated at lysine 20 and histone H3 methylated at lysine 27. Each of these marks is incorporated by specific histone lysine methyl transferases. While constitutive heterochromatin enriched with H3K9me3 and H4K20me3 occur within repetitive elements, including centromeres and telomeres, the facultative heterochromatin resides on the inactive X-chromosome and contains H3K27me3 mark. Origin recognition complex-associated (ORCA/LRWD1) protein is required for the initiation of DNA replication and also plays crucial roles in heterochromatin organization. ORCA associates with constitutive and facultative heterochromatin in human cells and binds to repressive histone marks. We demonstrate that ORCA binds to multiple repressive histone methyl transferases including G9a, GLP, Suv39h1 (H3K9 me2/3), Suv420h1/h2 (H4K20me2/3) and EZH2 (H3K27me3). Removal of ORCA from human cells causes aberrations in the chromatin architecture. We propose that ORCA acts as a scaffold protein that enables the formation of multiple histone lysine methyltransferase complexes at heterochromatic sites thereby facilitating chromatin organization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-441
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Heterochromatin
  • Histone methyl transferases
  • Replication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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