The Histone Demethylase KDM5 Activates Gene Expression by Recognizing Chromatin Context through Its PHD Reader Motif

Xingyin Liu, Julie Secombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


KDM5 family proteins are critically important transcriptional regulators whose physiological functions in the context of a whole animal remain largely unknown. Using genome-wide gene expression and binding analyses in Drosophila adults, we demonstrate that KDM5 (Lid) is a direct regulator of genes required for mitochondrial structure and function. Significantly, this occurs independently of KDM5's well-described JmjC domain-encoded histone demethylase activity. Instead, it requires the PHD motif of KDM5 that binds to histone H3 that is di- or trimethylated on lysine 4 (H3K4me2/3). Genome-wide, KDM5 binding overlaps with the active chromatin mark H3K4me3, and a fly strain specifically lacking H3K4me2/3 binding shows defective KDM5 promoter recruitment and gene activation. KDM5 therefore plays a central role in regulating mitochondrial function by utilizing its ability to recognize specific chromatin contexts. Importantly, KDM5-mediated regulation of mitochondrial activity is likely to be key in human diseases caused by dysfunction of this family of proteins. KDM5 family proteins are critically important transcriptional regulators whose dysfunction is linked to cancer and intellectual disability. Liu and Secombe find that KDM5 activates genes critical for mitochondrial function and metabolism through recognition via its PHD domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCell Reports
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jul 31 2015



  • H3K4me3
  • Histone
  • KDM5
  • Lid
  • Mitochondria
  • PHD motif
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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