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KMT2B Is Selectively Required for Neuronal Transdifferentiation, and Its Loss Exposes Dystonia Candidate Genes.

Cell Rep. 2018 Oct 23;25(4):988-1001. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.09.067.

Authors/Editors: Barbagiovanni G, Germain PL, Zech M, Atashpaz S, Lo Riso P, D'Antonio-Chronowska A, Tenderini E, Caiazzo M, Boesch S, Jech R, Haslinger B, Broccoli V, Stewart AF, Winkelmann J, Testa G.
Publication Date: 2018


Transdifferentiation of fibroblasts into induced neuronal cells (iNs) by the neuron-specific transcription factors Brn2, Myt1l, and Ascl1 is a paradigmatic example of inter-lineage conversion across epigenetically distant cells. Despite tremendous progress regarding the transcriptional hierarchy underlying transdifferentiation, the enablers of the concomitant epigenome resetting remain to be elucidated. Here, we investigated the role of KMT2A and KMT2B, two histone H3 lysine 4 methylases with cardinal roles in development, through individual and combined inactivation. We found that Kmt2b, whose human homolog’s mutations cause dystonia, is selectively required for iN conversion through suppression of the alternative myocyte program and induction of neuronal maturation genes. The identification of KMT2B-vulnerable targets allowed us, in turn, to expose, in a cohort of 225 patients, 45 unique variants in 39 KMT2B targets, which represent promising candidates to dissect the molecular bases of dystonia.


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