Histone H2B ubiquitin ligase RNF20 is required for MLL-rearranged leukemia.
ABSTRACT: Mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) fusions are potent oncogenes that initiate aggressive forms of acute leukemia. As aberrant transcriptional regulators, MLL-fusion proteins alter gene expression in hematopoietic cells through interactions with the histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase DOT1L. Notably, interference with MLL-fusion cofactors like DOT1L is an emerging therapeutic strategy in this disease. Here, we identify the histone H2B E3 ubiquitin ligase ring finger protein 20 (RNF20) as an additional chromatin regulator that is necessary for MLL-fusion-mediated leukemogenesis. Suppressing the expression of Rnf20 in diverse models of MLL-rearranged leukemia leads to inhibition of cell proliferation, under tissue culture conditions as well as in vivo. Rnf20 knockdown leads to reduced expression of MLL-fusion target genes, effects resembling Dot1l inhibition. Using ChIP-seq, we found that H2B ubiquitination is enriched in the body of MLL-fusion target genes, correlating with sites of H3K79 methylation and transcription elongation. Furthermore, Rnf20 is required to maintain local levels of H3K79 methylation by Dot1l at Hoxa9 and Meis1. These findings support a model whereby cotranscriptional recruitment of Rnf20 at MLL-fusion target genes leads to amplification of Dot1l-mediated H3K79 methylation, thereby rendering leukemia cells dependent on Rnf20 to maintain their oncogenic transcriptional program.
Project description:MLL-fusions are potent oncogenes that initiate aggressive forms of acute leukemia. As aberrant transcriptional regulators, MLL-fusion proteins alter gene expression in hematopoietic cells through interactions with the histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase DOT1L. Notably, interference with MLL-fusion cofactors like DOT1L is an emerging therapeutic strategy in this disease. Here we identify the histone H2B E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF20 as an additional requirement for MLL-fusion-mediated leukemogenesis. Suppressing the expression of Rnf20 in diverse models of MLL-rearranged leukemia leads to inhibition of cell proliferation; under tissue culture conditions as well as in vivo. Rnf20 knockdown leads to reduced expression of MLL-fusion target genes, including Hoxa9 and Meis1; effects that resemble Dot1l-inhibition. Using ChIP-seq, we found that H2B ubiquitination (H2Bub) is enriched in the body of MLL-fusion target genes, correlating with sites of H3K79 methylation and transcription elongation. Furthermore, we found that Rnf20 is required to maintain local levels of H3K79 di-methylation by Dot1l at Hoxa9 and Meis1. These findings support a model whereby co-transcriptional recruitment of Rnf20 at MLL-fusion target genes leads to amplification of Dot1l-mediated H3K79 methylation, thereby rendering leukemia cells dependent on Rnf20 to maintain their oncogenic transcriptional program. Examination of gene expression profiles upon RNF20 RNAi in MLL-AF9 acute myeloid leukemia cells
Project description:DOT1L is a unique histone methyltransferase that targets the histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) residue for mono-, di- and tri- methylation. Histone H3K79 mono- and di-methylation results in active gene transcription, while H3K79 tri-methylation is associated with gene repression. DOT1L has a critical role in regulating gene transcription, development, cell cycle progression, somatic reprogramming and DNA damage repair. DOT1L interacts with Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) fusion proteins, leading to enhanced H3K79 methylation, maintenance of open chromatin, overexpression of downstream oncogenes and leukemogenesis. Importantly, small molecule DOT1L inhibitors have been recently developed, and one of the DOT1L inhibitors is already under investigation in a Phase I clinical trial in patients with MLL fusion gene-driven leukemia.
Project description:Chromosomal translocations of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene are a common cause of acute leukemias. The oncogenic function of MLL fusion proteins is, in part, mediated through aberrant activation of Hoxa genes and Meis1, among others. Here we demonstrate using a tamoxifen-inducible Cre-mediated loss of function mouse model that DOT1L, an H3K79 methyltransferase, is required for both initiation and maintenance of MLL-AF9-induced leukemogenesis in vitro and in vivo. Through gene expression and chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis we demonstrate that mistargeting of DOT1L, subsequent H3K79 methylation, and up-regulation of Hoxa and Meis1 genes underlie the molecular mechanism of how DOT1L contributes to MLL-AF9-mediated leukemogenesis. Our study not only provides the first in vivo evidence for the function of DOT1L in leukemia, but also reveals the molecular mechanism for DOT1L in MLL-AF9 mediated leukemia. Thus, DOT1L may serve as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of leukemia caused by MLL translocations.
Project description:Histone lysine methylation contributes to transcriptional regulation by serving as a platform for the recruitment of various cofactors. Intense studies have been conducted for elucidating the functional meaning of H3K79 methylation, and to date, the only known HMTase responsible for the modification was DOT1L. In this study, we report that the MMSET isoform RE-IIBP has HMTase activity for H3K79. It was uncovered that RE-IIBP up-regulates MEIS1 transcription through H3K79 methylation via recruitment to the MEIS1 promoter. By means of proteomic and biochemical analysis, association of RE-IIBP with the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF20 was demonstrated for synergistic activation of MEIS1 transcription via H3K79 HMTase activity. Furthermore, It was observed that RE-IIBP induces MEIS1-mediated apoptosis, which was dependent on H2BK120 ubiquitination by RNF20. These findings suggest RE-IIBP as another candidate for further studies to elucidate the mechanism of H3K79 methylation and its biological functions.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) gene rearrangements trigger aberrant epigenetic modification and gene expression in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, which generates one of the most aggressive subtypes of leukemia with an apex self-renewal. It remains a challenge to directly inhibit rearranged MLL itself because of its multiple fusion partners and the poorly annotated downstream genes of MLL fusion proteins; therefore, novel therapeutic targets are urgently needed. METHODS:qRT-PCR, receiver operating characteristic (ROC), and leukemia-free survival analysis were used to validate LAMP5-AS1 (LAMP5 antisense 1) expression and evaluate its clinical value. We performed in vitro and in vivo experiments to investigate the functional relevance of LAMP5-AS1 in MLL leukemia progression and leukemia cell stemness. RNA electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA), histone methyltransferase assay, RNA pull-down assay, and RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) were used to validate the relationship between LAMP5-AS1 and the methyltransferase activity of DOT1L. The downstream ectopic target genes of LAMP5-AS1/DOT1L were validated by the chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and western blot. RESULTS:We discovered that a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) LAMP5-AS1 can promote higher degrees of H3K79 methylation, followed by upregulated expression of the self-renewal genes in the HOXA cluster, which are responsible for leukemia stemness in context of MLL rearrangements. We found that LAMP5-AS1 is specifically overexpressed in MLL leukemia patients (n = 58) than that in the MLL-wt leukemia (n = 163) (p < 0.001), and the patients with a higher expression level of LAMP5-AS1 exhibited a reduced 5-year leukemia-free survival (p < 0.01). LAMP5-AS1 suppression significantly reduced colony formation and increased differentiation of primary MLL leukemia CD34+ cells. Mechanistically, LAMP5-AS1 facilitated the methyltransferase activity of DOT1L by directly binding its Lys-rich region of catalytic domain, thus promoting the global patterns of H3K79 dimethylation and trimethylation in cells. These observations supported that LAMP5-AS1 upregulated H3K79me2/me3 and the transcription of DOT1L ectopic target genes. CONCLUSIONS:This is the first study that a lncRNA regulates the self-renewal program and differentiation block in MLL leukemia cells by facilitating the methyltransferase activity of DOT1L and global H3K79 methylation, showing its potential as a therapeutic target for MLL leukemia.
Project description:The t(6;11)(q27;q23) is a recurrent chromosomal rearrangement that encodes the MLLAF6 fusion oncoprotein and is observed in patients with diverse hematologic malignancies. The presence of the t(6;11)(q27;q23) has been linked to poor overall survival in patients with AML. In this study, we demonstrate that MLL-AF6 requires continued activity of the histone-methyltransferase DOT1L to maintain expression of the MLL-AF6-driven oncogenic gene-expression program. Using gene-expression analysis and genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation studies followed by next generation sequencing, we found that MLL-fusion target genes display markedly high levels of histone 3 at lysine 79 (H3K79) dimethylation in murine MLL-AF6 leukemias as well as in ML2, a human myelomonocytic leukemia cell line bearing the t(6;11)(q27;q23) translocation. Targeted disruption of Dot1l using a conditional knockout mouse model inhibited leukemogenesis mediated by the MLL-AF6 fusion oncogene. Moreover, both murine MLL-AF6-transformed cells as well as the human MLL-AF6-positive ML2 leukemia cell line displayed specific sensitivity to EPZ0004777, a recently described, selective, small-molecule inhibitor of Dot1l. Dot1l inhibition resulted in significantly decreased proliferation, decreased expression of MLL-AF6 target genes, and cell cycle arrest of MLL-AF6-transformed cells. These results indicate that patients bearing the t(6;11)(q27;q23) translocation may benefit from therapeutic agents targeting aberrant H3K79 methylation.
Project description:The t(10;11)(p12;q23) translocation and the t(10;11)(p12;q14) translocation, which encode the MLL (mixed lineage leukemia)-AF10 and CALM (clathrin assembly lymphoid myeloid leukemia)-AF10 fusion oncoproteins, respectively, are two recurrent chromosomal rearrangements observed in patients with acute myeloid leukemia and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here, we demonstrate that MLL-AF10 and CALM-AF10-mediated transformation is dependent on the H3K79 methyltransferase Dot1l using genetic and pharmacological approaches in mouse models. Targeted disruption of Dot1l using a conditional knockout mouse model abolished in vitro transformation of murine bone marrow cells and in vivo initiation and maintenance of MLL-AF10 or CALM-AF10 leukemia. The treatment of MLL-AF10 and CALM-AF10 transformed cells with EPZ004777, a specific small-molecule inhibitor of Dot1l, suppressed expression of leukemogenic genes such as Hoxa cluster genes and Meis1, and selectively impaired proliferation of MLL-AF10 and CALM-AF10 transformed cells. Pretreatment with EPZ004777 profoundly decreased the in vivo spleen-colony-forming ability of MLL-AF10 or CALM-AF10 transformed bone marrow cells. These results show that patients with leukemia-bearing chromosomal translocations that involve the AF10 gene may benefit from small-molecule therapeutics that inhibit H3K79 methylation.
Project description:Rearrangements of MLL (encoding lysine-specific methyltransferase 2A and officially known as KMT2A; herein referred to as MLL to denote the gene associated with mixed-lineage leukemia) generate MLL fusion proteins that bind DNA and drive leukemogenic gene expression. This gene expression program is dependent on the disruptor of telomeric silencing 1-like histone 3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase DOT1L, and small-molecule DOT1L inhibitors show promise as therapeutics for these leukemias. However, the mechanisms underlying this dependency are unclear. We conducted a genome-scale RNAi screen and found that the histone deacetylase SIRT1 is required for the establishment of a heterochromatin-like state around MLL fusion target genes after DOT1L inhibition. DOT1L inhibits chromatin localization of a repressive complex composed of SIRT1 and the H3K9 methyltransferase SUV39H1, thereby maintaining an open chromatin state with elevated H3K9 acetylation and minimal H3K9 methylation at MLL fusion target genes. Furthermore, the combination of SIRT1 activators and DOT1L inhibitors shows enhanced antiproliferative activity against MLL-rearranged leukemia cells. These results indicate that the dynamic interplay between chromatin regulators controlling the activation and repression of gene expression could provide novel opportunities for combination therapy.
Project description:Mislocated enzymatic activity of DOT1L has been proposed as a driver of leukemogenesis in mixed lineage leukemia (MLL). The characterization of EPZ004777, a potent, selective inhibitor of DOT1L is reported. Treatment of MLL cells with the compound selectively inhibits H3K79 methylation and blocks expression of leukemogenic genes. Exposure of leukemic cells to EPZ004777 results in selective killing of those cells bearing the MLL gene translocation, with little effect on non-MLL-translocated cells. Finally, in vivo administration of EPZ004777 leads to extension of survival in a mouse MLL xenograft model. These results provide compelling support for DOT1L inhibition as a basis for targeted therapeutics against MLL.
Project description:The histone 3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase Dot1l has been implicated in the development of leukemias bearing translocations of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene. We identified the MLL-fusion targets in an MLL-AF9 leukemia model, and conducted epigenetic profiling for H3K79me2, H3K4me3, H3K27me3, and H3K36me3 in hematopoietic progenitor and leukemia stem cells (LSCs). We found abnormal profiles only for H3K79me2 on MLL-AF9 fusion target loci in LSCs. Inactivation of Dot1l led to downregulation of direct MLL-AF9 targets and an MLL translocation-associated gene expression signature, whereas global gene expression remained largely unaffected. Suppression of MLL translocation-associated gene expression corresponded with dependence of MLL-AF9 leukemia on Dot1l in vivo. These data point to DOT1L as a potential therapeutic target in MLL-rearranged leukemia.