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Lysine demethylase 5A (KDM5A) is a negative regulator of histone H3K4 trimethylation, a histone mark associated with activate gene transcription. We identify that KDM5A interacts with the P-TEFb complex and cooperates with MYC to control MYC targeted genes in multiple myeloma (MM) cells. We develop a cell-permeable and selective KDM5 inhibitor, JQKD82, that increases histone H3K4me3 but paradoxically inhibits downstream MYC-driven transcriptional output in vitro and in vivo. Using genetic ablation together with our inhibitor, we establish that KDM5A supports MYC target gene transcription independent of MYC itself, by supporting TFIIH (CDK7)- and P-TEFb (CDK9)-mediated phosphorylation of RNAPII. These data identify KDM5A as a unique vulnerability in MM functioning through regulation of MYC-target gene transcription, and establish JQKD82 as a tool compound to block KDM5A function as a potential therapeutic strategy for MM.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancer discov

Publication Date





370 - 387


Epigenetics, Histone modifications, JQKD82, KDM5 inhibitor, Multiple myeloma, Transcription factor