Jae W. Lee's lab
Jae Lee discovered the MLL4-complex, which contains two enzymes that play critical roles in epigenetic gene regulation, MLL4 and UTX. MLL4 facilitates gene expression by opening up target chromatin loci by methylating histone H3-lysine 4 residues. UTX supports the activity of MLL4 by removing methyl group attached at H3-lysine 27, which directs chromatin compaction. Therefore, MLL4-complex activates target genes by triggering open chromatin formation via a synergy between MLL4 and UTX.
Interestingly, inactivation mutations in MLL4 and UTX genes have been found to cause Kabuki syndrome (KS). This prompted Jae W. Lee to study KS. In particular, Jae W.Lee's group is interested in exploring the enzymatic activity of MLL4 and UTX as novel therapeutic targets to treat KS.
In addition, inactivating mutations in MLL4 and UTX have been found in diverse human cancer tissues, identifying MLL4 and UTX as major epigenetic tumor suppressors. Therefore, Jae W. Lee group's studies also provide critical insights into tumorigenesis, and MLL4 and UTX would also be druggable targets to fight cancers.