Background: The Set1 histone methyltransferase protein was first identified in yeast as part of the Set1/COMPASS histone methyltransferase complex, which methylates histone H3 on lysine 4 and functions as a transcriptional co-activator (1). While yeast contain only one known Set1 protein, mammals contain six Set1-related proteins: SET1A, SET1B, MLL1, MLL2, MLL3 and MLL4, all of which methylate histone H3 on lysine 4 (2,3). These Set1-related proteins are each found in distinct protein complexes, all of which share the common core structural subunits WDR5, RBBP5 and ASH2L (2-6). WDR82 is a core subunit specific to SET1A and SET1B complexes, while Menin is a core subunit specific to the MLL complexes (4,5,7).Like yeast Set1, all six Set1-related mammalian proteins methylate histone H3 on lysine 4 (2-6). SET1A, SET1B, MLL1 and MLL2 mediate di- and tri-methylation of histone H3 Lys4 at gene promoters to facilitate transcription activation. MLL3 and MLL4 function primarily to mono-methylate histone H3 Lys4 at gene enhancers. MLL1 and MLL2 function as master regulators of both embryogenesis and hematopoiesis, and are required for proper expression of Hox genes (8-10). MLL1 is a large approximately 4000 amino acid protein that is cleaved by the Taspase 1 threonine endopeptidase to form N-terminal (MLL1-N) and C-terminal MLL1 (MLL1-C) fragments, both of which are subunits of the functional MLL1/COMPASS complex (11,12). MLL1 translocations are found in a large number of hematological malignancies, suggesting that Set1 histone methyltransferase complexes play a critical role in leukemogenesis (6). Like MLL1, MLL2 is also a large, approximately 2700 amino acid protein that is cleaved by the Taspase 1 threonine endopeptidase to form N-terminal (MLL2-N) and C-terminal (MLL2-C) fragments, both of which are subunits of the functional MLL2/COMPASS complex. MLL2 has also been implicated as a modulator of hematological malignancies (13). MLL3 and MLL4 proteins are not cleaved by Taspase 1.
Background: β-Catenin is a key downstream effector in the Wnt signaling pathway (1). It is implicated in two major biological processes in vertebrates: early embryonic development (2) and tumorigenesis (3). CK1 phosphorylates β-catenin at Ser45. This phosphorylation event primes β-catenin for subsequent phosphorylation by GSK-3β (4-6). GSK-3β destabilizes β-catenin by phosphorylating it at Ser33, Ser37, and Thr41 (7). Mutations at these sites result in the stabilization of β-catenin protein levels and have been found in many tumor cell lines (8).