Mutant p53 regulates enhancer-associated H3K4 monomethylation through interactions with the methyltransferase MLL4

Homa Rahnamoun, Juyeong Hong, Zhengxi Sun, Jihoon Lee, Hanbin Lu, Shannon M. Lauberth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Monomethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me1) is enriched at enhancers that are primed for activation and the levels of this histone mark are frequently altered in various human cancers. Yet, how alterations in H3K4me1 are established and the consequences of these epigenetic changes in tumorigenesis are not well understood. Using ChIP-Seq in human colon cancer cells, we demonstrate that mutant p53 depletion results in decreased H3K4me1 levels at active enhancers that reveal a striking colocalization of mutant p53 and the H3K4 monomethyltransferase MLL4 following chronic tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) signaling. We further reveal that mutant p53 forms physiological associations and direct interactions with MLL4 and promotes the enhancer binding of MLL4, which is required for TNF-inducible H3K4me1 and histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27ac) levels, enhancer-derived transcript (eRNA) synthesis, and mutant p53-dependent target gene activation. Complementary in vitro studies with recombinant chromatin and purified proteins demonstrate that binding of the MLL3/4 complex and H3K4me1 deposition is enhanced by mutant p53 and p300-mediated acetylation, which in turn reflects a MLL3/4-dependent enhancement of mutant p53 and p300-dependent transcriptional activation. Collectively, our findings establish a mechanism in which mutant p53 cooperates with MLL4 to regulate aberrant enhancer activity and tumor-promoting gene expression in response to chronic immune signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13234-13246
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number34
StatePublished - Aug 24 2018
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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