Integrative analysis reveals functional and regulatory roles of H3K79me2 in mediating alternative splicing

Tianbao Li, Qi Liu, Nick Garza, Steven Kornblau, Victor X. Jin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Accumulating evidence suggests alternative splicing (AS) is a co-transcriptional splicing process not only controlled by RNA-binding splicing factors, but also mediated by epigenetic regulators, such as chromatin structure, nucleosome density, and histone modification. Aberrant AS plays an important role in regulating various diseases, including cancers. Methods: In this study, we integrated AS events derived from RNA-seq with H3K79me2 ChIP-seq data across 34 different normal and cancer cell types and found the higher enrichment of H3K79me2 in two AS types, skipping exon (SE) and alternative 3' splice site (A3SS). Results: Interestingly, by applying self-organizing map (SOM) clustering, we unveiled two clusters mainly comprised of blood cancer cell types with a strong correlation between H3K79me2 and SE. Remarkably, the expression of transcripts associated with SE was not significantly different from that of those not associated with SE, indicating the involvement of H3K79me2 in splicing has little impact on full mRNA transcription. We further showed that the deletion of DOT1L1, the sole H3K79 methyltransferase, impeded leukemia cell proliferation as well as switched exon skipping to the inclusion isoform in two MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia cell lines. Our data demonstrate H3K79me2 was involved in mediating SE processing, which might in turn influence transformation and disease progression in leukemias. Conclusions: Collectively, our work for the first time reveals that H3K79me2 plays functional and regulatory roles through a co-transcriptional splicing mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number30
JournalGenome Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 17 2018


  • AML
  • Alternative Splicing
  • DOT1L
  • H3K79me2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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