Binding of the Spp1 PHD finger to histone H3K4me3 is sensitive to adjacent post-translational modifications in the histone tail. This commentary discusses the findings of He and colleagues [Biochem. J.476, 1957–1973] which show that the PHD finger binds to H3K4me3 in a selective manner which is conserved in the Saccharomyces pombe and mammalian orthologues of Spp1.

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