FOXC1, a target of polycomb, inhibits metastasis of breast cancer cells
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Polycomb group (PcG) proteins have recently been shown related to cancer development. The PcG protein EZH2 is involved in progression of prostate and breast cancers, and has been identified as a molecular marker in breast cancer. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism by which PcG proteins regulate cancer progression and malignant metastasis is still unclear. PcG proteins methylate H3K27 in undifferentiated epithelial cells, resulting in the repression of differentiation genes such as HOX. FOXC1 is a member of the Forkhead box transcription factor family, which plays an important role in differentiation, and is involved in eye development. We discovered in this study that the expression of FOXC1 gene was negatively correlated to that of PcG genes, i.e., Bmi1, EZH2, and SUZ12, in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells. To investigate the regulatory effects of PcG proteins on FOXC1 gene, the two cell lines were transfected with either expression plasmids or siRNA plasmids of Bmi1, EZH2, and SUZ12, and we found that PcGs, especially EZH2, could repress the transcription of FOXC1 gene. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assay showed that histone methylation and acetylation modifications played critical roles in this regulatory process. When FOXC1 was stably transfected into MDA-MB-231 cells, the migration and invasion of the cells were repressed. Moreover, the tumorigenicity and the spontaneous metastatic capability regulated by FOXC1 were determined by using an orthotropic xenograft tumor model of athymic mice with the FOXC1-MDA-MB-231HM and the GFP-MDA-MB-231HM cells, and the results showed that FOXC1 in MDA-MB-231HM cells inhibited migration and invasion in vitro and reduced the pulmonary metastasis in vivo. Data presented in this report contribute to the understanding of the mechanisms by which EZH2 participates in tumor development.
KeywordsFOXC1 Polycomb EZH2 Metastasis Breast cancer
The enhancer of zeste homologue 2
Lysine 27 of histone H3
This study was supported by grants from The National Natural Science Foundation of China (30671184 and 30971613), The Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team (PCSIRT) in Universities (IRT0519), and The Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities.
Conflicts of interest
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