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Redistribution of EZH2 promotes malignant phenotypes by rewiring developmental programmes

Mortimer, T; Wainwright, EN; Patel, H; Siow, BM; Jaunmuktane, Z; Brandner, S; Scaffidi, P; (2019) Redistribution of EZH2 promotes malignant phenotypes by rewiring developmental programmes. EMBO Rep , Article e48155. 10.15252/embr.201948155. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Epigenetic regulators are often hijacked by cancer cells to sustain malignant phenotypes. How cells repurpose key regulators of cell identity as tumour-promoting factors is unclear. The antithetic role of the Polycomb component EZH2 in normal brain and glioma provides a paradigm to dissect how wild-type chromatin modifiers gain a pathological function in cancer. Here, we show that oncogenic signalling induces redistribution of EZH2 across the genome, and through misregulation of homeotic genes corrupts the identity of neural cells. Characterisation of EZH2 targets in de novo transformed cells, combined with analysis of glioma patient datasets and cell lines, reveals that acquisition of tumorigenic potential is accompanied by a transcriptional switch involving de-repression of spinal cord-specifying HOX genes and concomitant silencing of the empty spiracles homologue EMX2, a critical regulator of neurogenesis in the forebrain. Maintenance of tumorigenic potential by glioblastoma cells requires EMX2 repression, since forced EMX2 expression prevents tumour formation. Thus, by redistributing EZH2 across the genome, cancer cells subvert developmental transcriptional programmes that specify normal cell identity and remove physiological breaks that restrain cell proliferation.

Type: Article
Title: Redistribution of EZH2 promotes malignant phenotypes by rewiring developmental programmes
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.15252/embr.201948155
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.15252/embr.201948155
Language: English
Additional information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: cancer; chromatin; EZH2; glioblastoma; Polycomb
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Clinical and Movement Neurosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Medical Sciences > Cancer Institute > Research Department of Cancer Bio
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10081363
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