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Min Gyu Lee, Ph.D.

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Associate Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Dual/Joint/Adjunct Appointment

Faculty, Center for Cancer Epigenetics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Research Interests

Research interests: The role of histone-modifying enzymes

Key Words: Histone modifications, Histone-modifying enzymes, Gene regulation,
Epigenetics, Tumor suppression & Cancer

My laboratory is interested in understanding the role of histone modifications.  Histone modifications include methylation, acetylation, phosphorylation and ubiquitylation, and play an essential role in regulating gene expression and chromatin architecture, consequently affecting numerous biological processes such as cellular differentiation, development and tumorigenesis.

It has been increasingly evident that epigenetic changes ― changes in a phenotype without altering DNA sequence ― are a common basis for cancer phenotype. While the link between epigenetic aberration and cancer development is clear, the epigenetic mechanisms underlying oncogenic processes remain to be studied. Recently, changes in histone modifications have been emerged as a key player in epigenetic alteration involved in the oncogenic events such as inactivation of tumor suppression pathways and activation of oncogenes.

Since histone modifications are controlled by a cohort of histone-modifying enzymes, we primarily explore the biochemical and biological role of histone-modifying enzymes, especially with an emphasis on histone methyltransferases and demethylases. In parallel, we also study the epigenetic role of these enzymes in the oncogenic events or tumor suppression pathways.

Office Address

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
1515 Holcombe Blvd.
Unit Number: 108
Houston, TX 77030
Room Number: Y7.6028
Phone: 713-792-3678
Fax: 713-794-3270

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

2003 Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, PHD, Biological Chemistry
1993 Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of, MS, Agricultural Chemistry
1991 Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of, BS, Agricultural Chemistry

Postgraduate Training

2004-2007 Research Fellowship, The Wistar Institute, Philadelphia, PA, Dr. Ramin Shiekhattar
2003-2004 Research Fellowship, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, Dr. Peter L. Pedersen


Academic Appointments

Faculty, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (GSBS), The University of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX, 2009-present
Faculty, Cancer Biology Program, Graduate School of Biomedical Science, The University of Texas Health Science Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, 2009-present

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Li N, Li Y, Lv J, Zheng X, Wen H, Shen H, Zhu G, Chen TY, Dhar SS, Kan PY, Wang Z, Shiekhattar R, Shi X, Lan F, Chen K, Li W, Li H, Lee MG. ZMYND8 Reads the Dual Histone Mark H3K4me1-H3K14ac to Antagonize the Expression of Metastasis-Linked Genes. Mol Cell 63(3):470-84, 8/2016. e-Pub 7/2016. PMID: 27477906.
2. Dhar SS, Lee SH, Chen K, Zhu G, Oh W, Allton K, Gafni O, Kim YZ, Tomoiga AS, Barton MC, Hanna JH, Wang Z, Li W, Lee MG. An essential role for UTX in resolution and activation of bivalent promoters. Nucleic Acids Res 8(8):3659-74, 5/2016. e-Pub 1/2016. PMCID: PMC4856969.
3. Li N, Dhar SS, Chen TY, Kan PY, Wei Y, Kim JH, Chan CH, Lin HK, Hung MC, Lee MG. JARID1D is a suppressor and prognostic marker of prostate cancer invasion and metastasis. Cancer Res 76(4):831-43, 2/2016. e-Pub 1/2016. PMCID: PMC4755879.
4. Dhar SS, Alam H, Li N, Wagner KW, Chung J, Ahn YW, Lee MG. Transcriptional Repression of Histone Deacetylase 3 by the Histone Demethylase KDM2A Is Coupled to Tumorigenicity of Lung Cancer Cells. J Biol Chem 289:7483-7496, 3/2014. PMID: 24482232.
5. Kim J, Sharma A, Dhar SS, Lee S, Gu B, Chan CH, Lin HK, Lee MG. UTX and MLL4 Coordinately Regulate Transcriptional Programs for Cell Proliferation and Invasiveness in Breast Cancer Cells. Cancer Research 74(6):1705-17, 3/2014. e-Pub 2/2014. PMCID: PMC3962500.
6. Wagner K, Alam H, Dhar S, Giri U, Li N, Wei Y, Giri D, Cascone T, Kim JH, Ye Y, Multani A, Chan CH, Erez B, Saigal B, Chung J, Lin HK, Wu X, Hung M, Heymach J, Lee MG. KDM2A Promotes Lung Tumorigenesis by Epigenetically Enhancing ERK1/2 Signaling. J. Clin. Invest 123:5231-5246, 12/2013. PMCID: PMC3859406.
7. Dhar SS, Lee SH, Kan PY, Voigt P, Ma L, Shi X, Reinberg D, Lee MG. Trans-tail regulation of MLL4-catalyzed H3K4 methylation by H4R3 symmetric dimethylation is mediated by a tandem PHD of MLL4. Genes Dev 26(24):2749-62, 12/2012. PMCID: PMC3533079.
8. Wen H, Li J, Song T, Lu M, Kan PY, Lee MG, Sha B, Shi X. Recognition of histone H3K4 trimethylation by the plant homeodomain of PHF2 modulates histone demethylation. J Biol Chem 285(13):9322-6, 3/2010. e-Pub 2/2010. PMCID: PMC2843180.
9. Smith ER, Lee MG, Winter B, Droz NM, Eissenberg JC, Shiekhattar R, Shilatifard A. Drosophila UTX is a histone H3 Lys27 demethylase that colocalizes with the elongating form of RNA polymerase II. Mol Cell Biol 28(3):1041-6, 2/2008. e-Pub 11/2007. PMCID: PMC2223382.
10. Ingvarsdottir K, Edwards C, Lee MG, Lee JS, Schultz DC, Shilatifard A, Shiekhattar R, Berger SL. Histone H3 K4 demethylation during activation and attenuation of GAL1 transcription in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Mol Cell Biol 27(22):7856-64, 11/2007. e-Pub 9/2007. PMCID: PMC2169161.
11. Lee MG, Villa R, Trojer P, Norman J, Yan KP, Reinberg D, Di Croce L, Shiekhattar R. Demethylation of H3K27 Regulates Polycomb Recruitment and H2A Ubiquitination. Science 318(5849):447-50, 10/2007. e-Pub 8/2007. PMID: 17761849.
12. Huang J, Sengupta R, Espejo AB, Lee MG, Dorsey JA, Richter M, Opravil S, Shiekhattar R, Bedford MT, Jenuwein T, Berger SL. p53 is regulated by the lysine demethylase LSD1. Nature 449(7158):105-8, 9/2007. PMID: 17805299.
13. Eissenberg JC, Lee MG, Schneider J, Ilvarsonn A, Shiekhattar R, Shilatifard A. The trithorax-group gene in Drosophila little imaginal discs encodes a trimethylated histone H3 Lys4 demethylase. Nat Struct Mol Biol 14(4):344-6, 4/2007. e-Pub 3/2007. PMID: 17351630.
14. Lee MG, Norman J, Shilatifard A, Shiekhattar R. Physical and functional association of a trimethyl H3K4 demethylase and Ring6a/MBLR, a polycomb-like protein. Cell 128(5):877-887, 3/2007. e-Pub 2/2007. PMID: 17320162.
15. Nicolas E, Lee MG, Hakimi MA, Cam HP, Grewal SI, Shiekhattar R. Fission yeast homologs of human histone H3 lysine 4 demethylase regulate a common set of genes with diverse functions. J Biol Chem 281(47):35983-8, 11/2006. e-Pub 9/2006. PMID: 16990277.
16. Lee MG, Wynder C, Schmidt DM, McCafferty DG, Shiekhattar R. Histone H3 lysine 4 demethylation is a target of nonselective antidepressive medications. Chem Biol 13(6):563-7, 6/2006. PMID: 16793513.
17. Lee MG, Wynder C, Bochar DA, Hakimi MA, Cooch N, Shiekhattar R. Functional interplay between histone demethylase and deacetylase enzymes. Mol Cell Biol 26(17):6395-6402, 2006. PMCID: PMC1592851.
18. Lee MG, Wynder C, Norman J, Shiekhattar R. Isolation and characterization of histone H3 lysine 4 demethylase-containing complexes. Methods 40(4):327-30, 2006. PMID: 17101444.
19. Lee MG, Wynder C, Cooch N, Shiekhattar R. An essential role for CoREST in nucleosomal histone 3 lysine 4 demethylation. Nature 437(7057):432-5, 2005. e-Pub 8/2005. PMID: 16079794.
20. Lee MG, Pedersen PL. Glucose metabolism in cancer: importance of transcription factor-DNA interactions within a short segment of the proximal region of the type II hexokinase promoter. J Biol Chem 278(42):41047-58, 10/2003. e-Pub 7/2003. PMID: 12893819.

Invited Articles

1. Alam H, Gu B, Lee MG. Histone methylation modifiers in cellular signaling pathways. Cell Mol Life Sci 72(23):4577-92, 12/2015. e-Pub 8/2015. PMCID: PMC4628846.
2. Gu B, Lee MG. Histone H3 Lysine 4 Methyltransferases and Demethylases in Self-renewal and Differentiation of Stem Cells. Cell & Bioscience 3(1):39, 10/2013. PMCID: PMC3953348.

Last updated: 8/31/2016