The Role of Nuclear Receptor–Binding SET Domain Family Histone Lysine Methyltransferases in Cancer

2017, Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine


Bennett, RL; Swaroop, A; Troche, C; Licht, JD.


The nuclear receptor–binding SET Domain (NSD) family of histone H3 lysine 36 methyltransferases is comprised of NSD1, NSD2 (MMSET/WHSC1), and NSD3 (WHSC1L1). These enzymes recognize and catalyze methylation of histone lysine marks to regulate chromatin integrity and gene expression. The growing number of reports demonstrating that alterations or translocations of these genes fundamentally affect cell growth and differentiation leading to developmental defects illustrates the importance of this family. In addition, overexpression, gain of function somatic mutations, and translocations of NSDs are associated with human cancer and can trigger cellular transformation in model systems. Herewe review the functions of NSD family members and the accumulating evidence that these proteins play key roles in tumorigenesis. Because epigenetic therapy is an important emerging anticancer strategy, understanding the function of NSD family members may lead to the development of novel therapies.

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