Genes & Genomics

, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 475–484 | Cite as

The Drosophila histone methyltransferase NSD is positively regulated by the DRE/DREF system

  • Suyeun Kim
  • Taejoon Kim
  • Yuji Jeong
  • Saeyan Choi
  • Masamitsu Yamaguchi
  • Im-Soon LeeEmail author
Research Article


The Drosophila nuclear receptor-binding SET domain protein (NSD) gene encodes the Drosophila ortholog of mammalian NSD family members that are important in many aspects of development and disease in humans. In this study, we observed that overexpression of Drosophila NSD in imaginal discs induces organ atrophy. Thus, to gain an understanding of the transcriptional regulation of the gene, we analyzed the NSD promoter region. First, we identified the presence of three putative DNA replication-related element (DRE) sequences in its promoter region, where DRE-binding factor (DREF) could bind for transcriptional activation. In the experiments with the fly GAL4-UAS system, we demonstrated that overexpressed DREF increased the endogenous NSD transcription. To confirm the role of DREF as a transcriptional activator on the NSD expression, we generated a series of luciferase reporter gene constructs containing deleted portions of the 5′-flanking regions as well as point mutations in the putative DRE sites. When transiently transfected into S2 cells, the deletion construct containing no DRE sites showed dramatic decrease in the NSD promoter activity, but only two sites near the transcriptional start site were important. Furthermore, we verified the direct interaction of DREF with the two positively cis-acting sequences on the NSD promoter by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Taken together, these results demonstrated that NSD is one of the downstream targets of the DRE/DREF pathway that is associated with various cellular processes in Drosophila, indicating that our findings may contribute to the understanding of molecular mechanisms in complex disorders associated with NSD family members in humans.


NSD, Nuclear receptor-binding SET domain protein DRE, DNA replication-related element DREF, DRE-binding factor  



This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning (NRF-2014R1A1A3051462 to IS Lee). Consulting service from the Microbial Carbohydrate Resource Bank (MCRB, Seoul, Korea) was kindly appreciated.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Suyeun Kim, Taejoon Kim, Yuji Jeong, Saeyan Choi, Masamitsu Yamaguchi and Im-Soon Lee declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human and animal participants

This article does not contain any studies with human subjects or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© The Genetics Society of Korea and Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  2. 2.CHANS Research CenterKonkuk UniversitySeoulRepublic of Korea
  3. 3.Department of Applied BiologyKyoto Institute of TechnologyKyotoJapan

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