Enzymes of the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) family of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferases are critical for cellular differentiation and development and are regulated by interaction with a conserved subcomplex consisting of WDR5, RbBP5, Ash2L, and DPY30. While pairwise interactions between complex subunits have been determined, the mechanisms regulating holocomplex assembly are unknown. In this investigation, we systematically characterized the biophysical properties of a reconstituted human MLL1 core complex and found that the MLL1–WDR5 heterodimer interacts with the RbBP5–Ash2L–DPY30 subcomplex in a hierarchical assembly pathway that is highly dependent on concentration and temperature. Surprisingly, we found that the disassembled state is favored at physiological temperature, where the enzyme rapidly becomes irreversibly inactivated, likely because of complex components becoming trapped in nonproductive conformations. Increased protein concentration partially overcomes this thermodynamic barrier for complex assembly, suggesting a potential regulatory mechanism for spatiotemporal control of H3K4 methylation. Together, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that regulated assembly of the MLL1 core complex underlies an important mechanism for establishing different H3K4 methylation states in mammalian genomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology