Histone H2B deubiquitination is performed by numerous deubiquitinases in eukaryotic cells including Ubp8, the catalytic subunit of the tetrameric deubiquitination module (DUBm: Ubp8; Sus11; Sgf11; Sgf73) of the Spt-Ada- Gcn5 acetyltransferase (SAGA). Ubp8 is linked to the rest of SAGA through Sgf73 and is activated by the adaptors Sus1 and Sgf11. It is unknown if DUBm/Ubp8 might also work in a SAGA-independent manner.
Here we report that a tetrameric DUBm is assembled independently of the SAGA-core components SPT7, ADA1 and SPT20. In the absence of SPT7, i.e. independent of the SAGA complex, Ubp8 and Sus1 are poorly recruited to SAGA-dependent genes and to chromatin. Notably, cells lacking Spt7 or Ada1, but not Spt20, show lower levels of nuclear Ubp8 than wild type cells, suggesting a possible role for SAGA CORE subunits in Ubp8 localization. Last, deletion of SPT7 leads to defects in Ubp8 deubiquitinase activity in in vivo and in vitro assays.
Collectively, our studies show that a stable DUBm is assembled regardless of SAGA integrity; however its function and localization is affected by the absence of Spt7 or Ada1.