DOT1L O-GlcNAcylation promotes its protein stability andMLL-fusion leukemia cell proliferation.

Song Tanjing et al.

Histone lysine methylation functions at the interface of the extracellular environment and intracellular gene expression. DOT1L is a versatile histone H3K79 methyltransferase with a prominent role in MLL-fusion leukemia, yet little is known about how DOT1L responds to extracellular stimuli. Here, we report that DOT1L protein stability is regulated by the extracellular glucose level through the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway (HBP). Mechanistically, DOT1L is O-GlcNAcylated at evolutionarily conserved S1511 in its C terminus. We identify UBE3C as a DOT1L E3 ubiquitin ligase promoting DOT1L degradation whose interaction with DOT1L is susceptible to O-GlcNAcylation. Consequently, HBP enhances H3K79 methylation and expression of critical DOT1L target genes such as HOXA9/MEIS1, promoting cell proliferation in MLL-fusion leukemia. Inhibiting HBP or O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) increases cellular sensitivity to DOT1L inhibitor. Overall, our work uncovers O-GlcNAcylation and UBE3C as critical determinants of DOT1L protein abundance, revealing a mechanism by which glucose metabolism affects malignancy progression through histone methylation.


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September, 2021


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