A687V EZH2 is a driver of histone H3 Lysine 27 (H3K27) hypertrimethylation

Heidi M. Ott, Alan P. Graves, Melissa B. Pappalardi, Michael Huddleston, Wendy S. Halsey, Ashley M. Hughes, Arthur Groy, Edward Dul, Yong Jiang, Yuchen Bai, Roland Annan, Sharad K. Verma, Steven D. Knight, Ryan G. Kruger, Dashyant Dhanak, Benjamin Schwartz, Peter J. Tummino, Caretha L. Creasy, Michael T. McCabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The EZH2 methyltransferase silences gene expression through methylation of histone H3 on lysine 27 (H3K27). Recently, EZH2 mutations have been reported at Y641, A677, and A687 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Although the Y641F/N/S/H/C and A677G mutations exhibit clearly increased activity with substrates dimethylated at lysine 27 (H3K27me2), the A687V mutant has been shown to prefer a monomethylated lysine 27 (H3K27me1) with little gain of activity toward H3K27me2. Herein, we demonstrate that despite this unique substrate preference, A687V EZH2 still drives increased H3K27me3 when transiently expressed in cells. However, unlike the previously described mutants that dramatically deplete global H3K27me2 levels, A687V EZH2 retains normal levels of H3K27me2. Sequencing of B-cell-derived cancer cell lines identified an acute lymphoblastic leukemia cell line harboring this mutation. Similar to exogenous expression of A687V EZH2, this cell line exhibited elevated H3K27me3 while possessing H3K27me2 levels higher than Y641- or A677-mutant lines. Treatment of A687V EZH2-mutant cells with GSK126, a selective EZH2 inhibitor, was associated with a global decrease in H3K27me3, robust gene activation, caspase activation, and decreased proliferation. Structural modeling of the A687V EZH2 active site suggests that the increased catalytic activity with H3K27me1 may be due to a weakened interaction with an active site water molecule that must be displaced for dimethylation to occur. These findings suggest that A687V EZH2 likely increases global H3K27me3 indirectly through increased catalytic activity with H3K27me1 and cells harboring this mutation are highly dependent on EZH2 activity for their survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3062-3073
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular cancer therapeutics
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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