WDR5 is a conserved regulator of protein synthesis gene expression

Audra F. Bryan, Jing Wang, Gregory C. Howard, Alissa D. Guarnaccia, Chase M. Woodley, Erin R. Aho, Eric J. Rellinger, Brittany K. Matlock, David K. Flaherty, Shelly L. Lorey, Dai H. Chung, Stephen W. Fesik, Qi Liu, April M. Weissmiller, William P. Tansey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


WDR5 is a highly-conserved nuclear protein that performs multiple scaffolding functions in the context of chromatin. WDR5 is also a promising target for pharmacological inhibition in cancer, with small molecule inhibitors of an arginine-binding pocket of WDR5 (the 'WIN' site) showing efficacy against a range of cancer cell lines in vitro. Efforts to understand WDR5, or establish the mechanism of action of WIN site inhibitors, however, are stymied by its many functions in the nucleus, and a lack of knowledge of the conserved gene networks-if any-that are under its control. Here, we have performed comparative genomic analyses to identify the conserved sites of WDR5 binding to chromatin, and the conserved genes regulated by WDR5, across a diverse panel of cancer cell lines. We show that a specific cohort of protein synthesis genes (PSGs) are invariantly bound by WDR5, demonstrate that the WIN site anchors WDR5 to chromatin at these sites, and establish that PSGs are bona fide, acute, and persistent targets of WIN site blockade. Together, these data reveal that WDR5 plays a predominant transcriptional role in biomass accumulation and provide further evidence that WIN site inhibitors act to repress gene networks linked to protein synthesis homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2924-2941
Number of pages18
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 6 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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