We describe a molecular switch based on the controlled methylation of nucleosome and the transcriptional cofactors, the CREB-binding proteins (CBP)/p300. The CBP/p300 methylation site is localized to an arginine residue that is essential for stabilizing the structure of the KIX domain, which mediates CREB recruitment. Methylation of KIX by coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) blocks CREB activation by disabling the interaction between KIX and the kinase inducible domain (KID) of CREB. Thus, CARM1 functions as a corepressor in cyclic adenosine monophosphate signaling pathway via its methyltransferase activity while acting as a coactivator for nuclear hormones. These results provide strong in vivo and in vitro evidence that histone methylation plays a key role in hormone-induced gene activation and define cofactor methylation as a new regulatory mechanism in hormone signaling.
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