In 2003, we published a landmark paper describing purification of the first mammalian histone H3-lysine 4-methyltransferase (H3K4MT) complexes (Mol Cell Biol 23:140, 2003). We have shown that these complexes contain either the H3K4MT MLL3 or its paralog MLL4 (PNAS 103:15392, 2006). Other groups have subsequently shown that these complexes also contain the H3K27-demethylase UTX. We have been pioneering dissecting the physiological roles of these MLL3/UTX- and MLL4/UTX-complexes ever since.

Notably, the MLL3/4/UTX-complexes are linked to two prominent human disorders. Somatic mutations of the MLL3, MLL4, and UTX genes in diverse human cancers identified these complexes as tumor suppressors. Mutations in the MLL4 and UTX genes were found to result in a devastating human congenital developmental disorder, named Kabuki syndrome.

Our current focus is on roles of these complexes in diverse metabolic processes as well as in the newly emerging theme for intriguing interplays between diet and tumorigenesis.

Welcome to Jae Lee’s Lab

at OHSU, Portland, Oregon

Gene Regulation in Metabolism