SETD2 regulates the methylation of translation elongation factor eEF1A1 in clear cell renal cell carcinoma

Kidney Cancer J. 2022;6(3):179-193. doi: 10.3233/kca-220009. Epub 2022 Nov 18.


Background: SET domain-containing protein 2 (SETD2) is commonly mutated in renal cell carcinoma. SETD2 methylates histone H3 as well as a growing list of non-histone proteins.

Objective: Initially, we sought to explore SETD2-dependent changes in lysine methylation of proteins in proximal renal tubule cells. Subsequently, we focused on changes in lysine methylation of the translation elongation factor eEF1A1.

Methods: To accomplish these objectives, we initially performed a systems-wide analysis of protein lysine-methylation and expression in wild type (WT) and SETD2-knock out (KO) kidney cells and later focused our studies on eEF1A1 as well as the expression of lysine methyltransferases that regulate its lysine methylation.

Results: We observed decreased lysine methylation of the translation elongation factor eEF1A1. EEF1AKMT2 and EEF1AKMT3 are known to methylate eEF1A1, and we show here that their expression is dependent on SET-domain function of SETD2. Globally, we observe differential expression of hundreds of proteins in WT versus SETD2-KO cells, including increased expression of many involved in protein translation. Finally, we observe decreased progression free survival and loss of EEF1AKMT2 gene expression in SETD2-mutated tumors predicted to have loss of function of the SET domain.

Conclusion: Overall, these data suggest that SETD2-mutated ccRCC, via loss of enzymatic function of the SET domain, displays dysregulation of protein translation as a potentially important component of the transformed phenotype.

Keywords: SETD2; clear cell renal cell carcinoma; eEF1A1; protein translation; proteomics.