Cancer/testis (CT) antigens are proteins whose expression is normally restricted to germ cells yet aberrantly activated in tumors, where their functions remain relatively cryptic. Here we report that ZNF165, a CT antigen frequently expressed in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), associates with SMAD3 to modulate transcription of transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)-dependent genes and thereby promote growth and survival of human TNBC cells. In addition, we identify the KRAB zinc finger protein, ZNF446, and its associated tripartite motif protein, TRIM27, as obligate components of the ZNF165-SMAD3 complex that also support tumor cell viability. Importantly, we find that TRIM27 alone is necessary for ZNF165 transcriptional activity and is required for TNBC tumor growth in vivo using an orthotopic xenograft model in immunocompromised mice. Our findings indicate that aberrant expression of a testis-specific transcription factor is sufficient to co-opt somatic transcriptional machinery to drive a pro-tumorigenic gene expression program in TNBC.
Data have been submitted under GEO access code GSE130364.
Genomic binding profiles for ZNF165, ZNF446, and SMAD3 in triple-negative breast cancerNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE130364.
ChIP-Seq analysis to identify direct binding of ZNF165NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE65937.
Context-Specific Effects of TGF-β/SMAD3 in Cancer Are Modulated by the Epigenome.EBI, EGAS00001001570.
Integrative Functional Characterization of Cancer-Testis Antigens Defines Obligate Participation in Multiple Hallmarks of CancerNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE63986.
- Zane A Gibbs
- Luis Reza
- Chun-chun Cheng
- Angelique Whitehurst
- Zane A Gibbs
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocols (2016-101795) of UT-Southwestern. All surgery was performed under anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Joaquín M Espinosa, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, United States
© 2020, Gibbs et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Centrosomes act as the main microtubule organizing center (MTOC) in metazoans. Centrosome number is tightly regulated by limiting centriole duplication to a single round per cell cycle. This control is achieved by multiple mechanisms, including the regulation of the protein kinase PLK4, the most upstream facilitator of centriole duplication. Altered centrosome numbers in mouse and human cells cause p53-dependent growth arrest through poorly defined mechanisms. Recent work has shown that the E3 ligase TRIM37 is required for cell cycle arrest in acentrosomal cells. To gain additional insights into this process, we undertook a series of genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screens to identify factors important for growth arrest triggered by treatment with centrinone B, a selective PLK4 inhibitor. We found that TRIM37 is a key mediator of growth arrest after partial or full PLK4 inhibition. Interestingly, PLK4 cellular mobility decreased in a dose-dependent manner after centrinone B treatment. In contrast to recent work, we found that growth arrest after PLK4 inhibition correlated better with PLK4 activity than with mitotic length or centrosome number. These data provide insights into the global response to changes in centrosome number and PLK4 activity and extend the role for TRIM37 in regulating the abundance, localization, and function of centrosome proteins.
Hyperactivation of oncogenic pathways downstream of RAS and PI3K/AKT in normal cells induces a senescence-like phenotype that acts as a tumor-suppressive mechanism that must be overcome during transformation. We previously demonstrated that AKT-induced senescence (AIS) is associated with profound transcriptional and metabolic changes. Here, we demonstrate that human fibroblasts undergoing AIS display upregulated cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS) expression and enhanced uptake of exogenous cysteine, which lead to increased hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and glutathione (GSH) production, consequently protecting senescent cells from oxidative stress-induced cell death. CBS depletion allows AIS cells to escape senescence and re-enter the cell cycle, indicating the importance of CBS activity in maintaining AIS. Mechanistically, we show this restoration of proliferation is mediated through suppressing mitochondrial respiration and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production by reducing mitochondrial localized CBS while retaining antioxidant capacity of transsulfuration pathway. These findings implicate a potential tumor-suppressive role for CBS in cells with aberrant PI3K/AKT pathway activation. Consistent with this concept, in human gastric cancer cells with activated PI3K/AKT signaling, we demonstrate that CBS expression is suppressed due to promoter hypermethylation. CBS loss cooperates with activated PI3K/AKT signaling in promoting anchorage-independent growth of gastric epithelial cells, while CBS restoration suppresses the growth of gastric tumors in vivo. Taken together, we find that CBS is a novel regulator of AIS and a potential tumor suppressor in PI3K/AKT-driven gastric cancers, providing a new exploitable metabolic vulnerability in these cancers.