BACKGROUND: The histone H3 lysine 79 (H3K79) methyltransferase DOT1L is a key chromatin-based barrier to somatic cell reprogramming. However, the mechanisms by which DOT1L safeguards cell identity and somatic-specific transcriptional programs remain unknown. RESULTS: We employed a proteomic approach using proximity-based labeling to identify DOT1L-interacting proteins and investigated their effects on reprogramming. Among DOT1L interactors, suppression of AF10 (MLLT10) via RNA interference or CRISPR/Cas9, significantly increases reprogramming efficiency. In somatic cells and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) higher order H3K79 methylation is dependent on AF10 expression. In AF10 knock-out cells, re-expression wild-type AF10, but not a DOT1L binding-impaired mutant, rescues overall H3K79 methylation and reduces reprogramming efficiency. Transcriptomic analyses during reprogramming show that AF10 suppression results in downregulation of fibroblast-specific genes and accelerates the activation of pluripotency-associated genes. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings establish AF10 as a novel barrier to reprogramming by regulating H3K79 methylation and thereby sheds light on the mechanism by which cell identity is maintained in somatic cells.
AF10, BioID, DOT1L, H3K79 methylation, Reprogramming, iPSC