Catalytic-inactivating mutations within the Drosophila enhancer H3K4 mono-methyltransferase Trr and its mammalian homologs, MLL3/4, cause only minor changes in gene expression compared with whole-gene deletions for these COMPASS members. To identify essential histone methyltransferase-independent functions of Trr, we screened to identify a minimal Trr domain sufficient to rescue Trr-null lethality and demonstrate that this domain binds and stabilizes Utx in vivo. Using the homologous MLL3/MLL4 human sequences, we mapped a short ∼80- amino-acid UTX stabilization domain (USD) that promotes UTX stability in the absence of the rest of MLL3/4. Nuclear UTX stability is enhanced when the USD is fused with the MLL4 HMG-box. Thus, COMPASS-dependent UTX stabilization is an essential noncatalytic function of Trr/MLL3/MLL4, suggesting that stabilizing UTX could be a therapeutic strategy for cancers with MLL3/4 loss-of-function mutations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology