H3 K27M and EZHIP Impede H3K27-Methylation Spreading by Inhibiting Allosterically Stimulated PRC2

Mol Cell. 2020 Nov 19;80(4):726-735.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.09.028. Epub 2020 Oct 12.


Diffuse midline gliomas and posterior fossa type A ependymomas contain the recurrent histone H3 lysine 27 (H3 K27M) mutation and express the H3 K27M-mimic EZHIP (CXorf67), respectively. H3 K27M and EZHIP are competitive inhibitors of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) lysine methyltransferase activity. In vivo, these proteins reduce overall H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) levels; however, residual peaks of H3K27me3 remain at CpG islands (CGIs) through an unknown mechanism. Here, we report that EZHIP and H3 K27M preferentially interact with PRC2 that is allosterically activated by H3K27me3 at CGIs and impede its spreading. Moreover, H3 K27M oncohistones reduce H3K27me3 in trans, independent of their incorporation into the chromatin. Although EZHIP is not found outside placental mammals, expression of human EZHIP reduces H3K27me3 in Drosophila melanogaster through a conserved mechanism. Our results provide mechanistic insights for the retention of residual H3K27me3 in tumors driven by H3 K27M and EZHIP.

Keywords: Drosophila PREs; EZHIP/CXorf67; H3.1 K27M; H3.3 K27M; PRC2; Weaver syndrome EED R302S mutation; diffuse midline gliomas; posterior fossa type-A ependymoma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allosteric Regulation
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • CpG Islands
  • DNA Methylation*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mutation*
  • Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / genetics
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • EZHIP protein, human
  • Histones
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2