Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1: a chromatin writer’s block

Authors


Prof. Dr H. Th. Marc Timmers, Department of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center Utrecht, STR 3.223, PO Box 85060, 3508 AB Utrecht, The Netherlands.
(fax: +31 88 75 68101; e-mail: h.t.m.timmers@umcutrecht.nl).

Abstract.

Multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN1) is caused by inactivating germ line mutations of the MEN1 tumour suppressor gene. The MEN1 gene product, menin, participates in many cellular processes, including regulation of gene transcription. As part of a protein complex that writes a trimethyl mark on lysine 4 of histone H3 (H3K4me3), menin is involved in activating gene transcription. Several functions of the menin histone methyltransferase complex have been discovered through protein interaction studies. Menin can interact with nuclear receptors and regulate transcription of hormone responsive target genes. Menin regulates transcription of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor and Hox genes via the chromatin-associated factor LEDGF. Aberrant expression of menin target genes in tumours in MEN1 patients suggests that loss of writing of the H3K4me3 mark contributes to MEN1 tumourigenesis. At present, drugs are being developed that target chromatin modifications. The identification of compounds that could restore H3K4me3 on menin target genes would provide new therapeutic strategies for MEN1 patients.

Ancillary