Methyl-Metabolite Depletion Elicits Adaptive Responses to Support Heterochromatin Stability and Epigenetic Persistence

Spencer A. Haws, Deyang Yu, Cunqi Ye, Coral K. Wille, Long C. Nguyen, Kimberly A. Krautkramer, Jay L. Tomasiewicz, Shany E. Yang, Blake R. Miller, Wallace H. Liu, Kazuhiko Igarashi, Rupa Sridharan, Benjamin P. Tu, Vincent L. Cryns, Dudley W. Lamming, John M. Denu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) is the methyl-donor substrate for DNA and histone methyltransferases that regulate epigenetic states and subsequent gene expression. This metabolism-epigenome link sensitizes chromatin methylation to altered SAM abundance, yet the mechanisms that allow organisms to adapt and protect epigenetic information during life-experienced fluctuations in SAM availability are unknown. We identified a robust response to SAM depletion that is highlighted by preferential cytoplasmic and nuclear mono-methylation of H3 Lys 9 (H3K9) at the expense of broad losses in histone di- and tri-methylation. Under SAM-depleted conditions, H3K9 mono-methylation preserves heterochromatin stability and supports global epigenetic persistence upon metabolic recovery. This unique chromatin response was robust across the mouse lifespan and correlated with improved metabolic health, supporting a significant role for epigenetic adaptation to SAM depletion in vivo. Together, these studies provide evidence for an adaptive response that enables epigenetic persistence to metabolic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-223.e8
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Apr 16


  • SAM
  • aging
  • chromatin
  • epigenetics
  • histone
  • metabolism
  • methionine
  • methylation
  • persistence


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