SON and Its Alternatively Spliced Isoforms Control MLL Complex-Mediated H3K4me3 and Transcription of Leukemia-Associated Genes.
ABSTRACT: Dysregulation of MLL complex-mediated histone methylation plays a pivotal role in gene expression associated with diseases, but little is known about cellular factors modulating MLL complex activity. Here, we report that SON, previously known as an RNA splicing factor, controls MLL complex-mediated transcriptional initiation. SON binds to DNA near transcription start sites, interacts with menin, and inhibits MLL complex assembly, resulting in decreased H3K4me3 and transcriptional repression. Importantly, alternatively spliced short isoforms of SON are markedly upregulated in acute myeloid leukemia. The short isoforms compete with full-length SON for chromatin occupancy but lack the menin-binding ability, thereby antagonizing full-length SON function in transcriptional repression while not impairing full-length SON-mediated RNA splicing. Furthermore, overexpression of a short isoform of SON enhances replating potential of hematopoietic progenitors. Our findings define SON as a fine-tuner of the MLL-menin interaction and reveal short SON overexpression as a marker indicating aberrant transcriptional initiation in leukemia.
Project description:Dysregulation of MLL complex-mediated histone methylation plays a pivotal role in gene expression associated with diseases, but little is known about cellular factors modulating MLL complex activity. Here, we report that SON, previously known as an RNA splicing factor, controls MLL complex-mediated transcriptional initiation. SON binds to DNA near transcription start sites, interacts with menin, and inhibits MLL complex assembly, resulting in decreased H3K4me3 and transcriptional repression. Importantly, alternatively spliced short isoforms of SON are markedly upregulated in acute myeloid leukemia. The short isoforms compete with full-length SON for chromatin occupancy, but lack the menin-binding ability, thereby antagonizing full-length SON function in transcriptional repression while not impairing full-length SON-mediated RNA splicing. Furthermore, overexpression of a short isoform of SON enhances replating potential of hematopoietic progenitors. Our findings define SON as a fine-tuner of the MLL-menin interaction and reveal short SON overexpression as a marker indicating aberrant transcriptional initiation in leukemia. Overall design: We performed chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq) in K562 leukemia cells with two different SON antibodies (SON-N and SON-C Abs)
Project description:Lens epithelium-derived growth factor (LEDGF) is a chromatin-associated protein implicated in leukemia and HIV type 1 infection. LEDGF associates with mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) fusion proteins and menin and is required for leukemic transformation. To better understand the molecular mechanism underlying the LEDGF integrase-binding domain (IBD) interaction with MLL fusion proteins in leukemia, we determined the solution structure of the MLL-IBD complex. We found a novel MLL motif, integrase domain binding motif 2 (IBM2), which binds to a well-defined site on IBD. Point mutations within IBM2 abolished leukemogenic transformation by MLL-AF9, validating that this newly identified motif is essential for the oncogenic activity of MLL fusion proteins. Interestingly, the IBM2 binding site on IBD overlaps with the binding site for the HIV integrase (IN), and IN was capable of efficiently sequestering IBD from the menin-MLL complex. A short IBM2 peptide binds to IBD directly and inhibits both the IBD-MLL/menin and IBD-IN interactions. Our findings show that the same site on IBD is involved in binding to MLL and HIV-IN, revealing an attractive approach to simultaneously target LEDGF in leukemia and HIV.
Project description:Menin functions as a critical oncogenic cofactor of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) fusion proteins in the development of acute leukemias, and inhibition of the menin interaction with MLL fusion proteins represents a very promising strategy to reverse their oncogenic activity. MLL interacts with menin in a bivalent mode involving 2 N-terminal fragments of MLL. In the present study, we reveal the first high-resolution crystal structure of human menin in complex with a small-molecule inhibitor of the menin-MLL interaction, MI-2. The structure shows that the compound binds to the MLL pocket in menin and mimics the key interactions of MLL with menin. Based on the menin-MI-2 structure, we developed MI-2-2, a compound that binds to menin with low nanomolar affinity (K(d) = 22nM) and very effectively disrupts the bivalent protein-protein interaction between menin and MLL. MI-2-2 demonstrated specific and very pronounced activity in MLL leukemia cells, including inhibition of cell proliferation, down-regulation of Hoxa9 expression, and differentiation. Our results provide the rational and essential structural basis to design next generation of inhibitors for effective targeting of the menin-MLL interaction in leukemia and demonstrate a proof of concept that inhibition of complex multivalent protein-protein interactions can be achieved by a small-molecule inhibitor.
Project description:Menin is an essential co-factor of oncogenic MLL fusion proteins and the menin-MLL interaction is critical for development of acute leukemia in vivo. Targeting the menin-MLL interaction with small molecules represents an attractive strategy to develop new anticancer agents. Recent developments, including determination of menin crystal structure and development of potent small molecule and peptidomimetic inhibitors, demonstrate the feasibility of targeting the menin-MLL interaction. On the other hand, biochemical and structural studies revealed that MLL binds to menin in a complex bivalent mode engaging two MLL motifs, and therefore inhibition of this protein-protein interaction represents a challenge. This review summarizes the most recent achievements in targeting the menin-MLL interaction as well as discusses potential benefits of blocking menin in cancer.
Project description:Inhibition of the menin-mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) protein-protein interaction is a promising new therapeutic strategy for the treatment of acute leukemia carrying MLL fusion (MLL leukemia). We describe herein our structure-based design, synthesis, and evaluation of a new class of small-molecule inhibitors of the menin-MLL interaction (hereafter called menin inhibitors). Our efforts have resulted in the discovery of highly potent menin inhibitors, as exemplified by compound 42 (M-89). M-89 binds to menin with a Kd value of 1.4 nM and effectively engages cellular menin protein at low nanomolar concentrations. M-89 inhibits cell growth in the MV4;11 and MOLM-13 leukemia cell lines carrying MLL fusion with IC50 values of 25 and 55 nM, respectively, and demonstrates >100-fold selectivity over the HL-60 leukemia cell line lacking MLL fusion. The determination of a co-crystal structure of M-89 in a complex with menin provides the structural basis for their high-affinity interaction. Further optimization of M-89 may lead to a new class of therapy for the treatment of MLL leukemia.
Project description:Menin displays the unique ability to either promote oncogenic function in the hematopoietic lineage or suppress tumorigenesis in the endocrine lineage; however, its molecular mechanism of action has not been defined. We demonstrate here that these discordant functions are unified by menin's ability to serve as a molecular adaptor that physically links the MLL (mixed-lineage leukemia) histone methyltransferase with LEDGF (lens epithelium-derived growth factor), a chromatin-associated protein previously implicated in leukemia, autoimmunity, and HIV-1 pathogenesis. LEDGF is required for both MLL-dependent transcription and leukemic transformation. Conversely, a subset of menin mutations in multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 patients abrogate interaction with LEDGF while preserving MLL interaction but nevertheless compromise MLL/menin-dependent functions. Thus, LEDGF critically associates with MLL and menin at the nexus of transcriptional pathways that are recurrently targeted in diverse diseases.
Project description:Resistance to androgen deprivation therapies and increased androgen receptor (AR) activity are major drivers of castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). Although prior work has focused on targeting AR directly, co-activators of AR signaling, which may represent new therapeutic targets, are relatively underexplored. Here we demonstrate that the mixed-lineage leukemia protein (MLL) complex, a well-known driver of MLL fusion-positive leukemia, acts as a co-activator of AR signaling. AR directly interacts with the MLL complex via the menin-MLL subunit. Menin expression is higher in CRPC than in both hormone-naive prostate cancer and benign prostate tissue, and high menin expression correlates with poor overall survival of individuals diagnosed with prostate cancer. Treatment with a small-molecule inhibitor of menin-MLL interaction blocks AR signaling and inhibits the growth of castration-resistant tumors in vivo in mice. Taken together, this work identifies the MLL complex as a crucial co-activator of AR and a potential therapeutic target in advanced prostate cancer.
Project description:Chromosomal translocations targeting the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene result in MLL fusion proteins that are found in aggressive human acute leukemias. Disruption of MLL by such translocations leads to overexpression of Hox genes, resulting in a blockage of hematopoietic differentiation that ultimately leads to leukemia. Menin, which directly binds MLL, has been identified as an essential oncogenic co-factor required for the leukemogenic activity of MLL fusion proteins. Here, we characterize the molecular basis of the MLL-menin interaction. Using (13)C-detected NMR experiments, we have mapped the residues within the intrinsically unstructured fragment of MLL that are required for binding to menin. Interestingly, we found that MLL interacts with menin with a nanomolar affinity (K(d) ? 10 nM) through two motifs, MBM1 and MBM2 (menin binding motifs 1 and 2). These motifs are located within the N-terminal 43-amino acid fragment of MLL, and the MBM1 represents a high affinity binding motif. Using alanine scanning mutagenesis of MBM1, we found that the hydrophobic residues Phe(9), Pro(10), and Pro(13) are most critical for binding. Furthermore, based on exchange-transferred nuclear Overhauser effect measurements, we established that MBM1 binds to menin in an extended conformation. In a series of competition experiments we showed that a peptide corresponding to MBM1 efficiently dissociates the menin-MLL complex. Altogether, our work establishes the molecular basis of the menin interaction with MLL and MLL fusion proteins and provides the necessary foundation for development of small molecule inhibitors targeting this interaction in leukemias with MLL translocations.
Project description:Menin, encoded by the multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) gene, is a tumor suppressor that leads to multiple endocrine tumors upon loss of its function. Menin functions as a transcriptional activator by tethering MLL complex to mediate histone H3 K4 methylation. It also functions as a repressor. However, the molecular mechanism of how menin contributes to the opposite outcome in gene expression is largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of menin in the epigenetic regulation of transcription mediated by histone covalent modification. We show that the global methylation level of histone H3 K9, as well as H3 K4, was decreased in Men1(-/-) MEF cells. Consistently, menin was able to interact with the suppressor of variegation 3-9 homolog family protein, SUV39H1, to mediate H3 K9 methylation. This interaction decreased when patient-derived MEN1 mutation was introduced into the SUV39H1-interaction domain. We show that menin mediated different chromatin changes depending on target genes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showed that menin directly associated with the GBX2 promoter and menin-dependent recruitment of SUV39H1 was essential for chromatin remodeling and transcriptional regulation. These results provide a molecular basis of how menin functions as a transcriptional repressor and suggest that menin-dependent integration of H3 K9 methylation might play an important role in preventing tumors.