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Cryo-EM structure of the human Mixed Lineage Leukemia-1 complex bound to the nucleosome

By Sang Ho Park, Alex Ayoub, Young Tae Lee, Jing Xu, Hanseong Kim, Wei Zhang, Biao Zhang, Sojin An, Yang Zhang, Michael A. Cianfrocco, Min Su, Yali Dou, Uhn-Soo Cho

Posted 16 Aug 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/737478

Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) family histone methyltransferases are the key enzymes that deposit histone H3 Lys4 (K4) mono-/di-/tri-methylation and regulate gene expression in mammals. Despite extensive structural and biochemical studies, the molecular mechanism by which the MLL complexes recognize histone H3K4 within the nucleosome core particle (NCP) remains unclear. Here, we report the single-particle cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of the human MLL1 core complex bound to the NCP. The MLL1 core complex anchors on the NCP through RbBP5 and ASH2L, which interacts extensively with nucleosomal DNA as well as the surface close to histone H4 N-terminal tail. Concurrent interactions of RbBP5 and ASH2L with the NCP uniquely align the catalytic MLL1SET domain at the nucleosome dyad, allowing symmetrical access to both H3K4 substrates within the NCP. Our study sheds light on how the MLL1 complex engages chromatin and how chromatin binding promotes MLL1 tri-methylation activity.

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