Eggless/SETDB1 (Egg), the only essential histone methyltransferase (HMT) in Drosophila, plays a role in gene repression, including piRNA-mediated transposon silencing in the ovaries. Previous studies suggested that Egg is post-translationally modified and showed that Windei (Wde) regulates Egg nuclear localization through protein–protein interaction. Monoubiquitination of mammalian SETDB1 is necessary for the HMT activity. Here, using cultured ovarian somatic cells, we show that Egg is monoubiquitinated and phosphorylated but that only monoubiquitination is required for piRNA-mediated transposon repression. Egg monoubiquitination occurs in the nucleus. Egg has its own nuclear localization signal, and the nuclear import of Egg is Wde-independent. Wde recruits Egg to the chromatin at target gene silencing loci, but their interaction is monoubiquitin-independent. The abundance of nuclear Egg is governed by that of nuclear Wde. These results illuminate essential roles of nuclear monoubiquitination of Egg and the role of Wde in piRNA-mediated transposon repression.
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