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The histone demethylase enzymes KDM3A and KDM4B co-operatively regulate chromatin transactions of the estrogen receptor in breast cancer

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Dominic Jones, Laura Wilson, Huw Thomas, Dr Luke Gaughan, Dr Mark Wade



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Many estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancers develop resistance to endocrine therapy but retain canonical receptor signalling in the presence of selective ER antagonists. Numerous co-regulatory proteins, including enzymes that modulate the chromatin environment, control the transcriptional activity of the ER. Targeting ER co-regulators has therefore been proposed as a novel therapeutic approach. By assessing DNA-binding dynamics in ER-positive breast cancer cells, we have identified that the histone H3 lysine 9 demethylase enzymes, KDM3A and KDM4B, co-operate to regulate ER activity via an auto-regulatory loop that facilitates the recruitment of each co-activating enzyme to chromatin. We also provide evidence that suggests that KDM3A primes chromatin for deposition of the ER pioneer factor FOXA1 and recruitment of the ER-transcriptional complex, all prior to ER recruitment, therefore establishing an important mechanism of chromatin regulation involving histone demethylases and pioneer factors, which controls ER functionality. Importantly, we show via global gene-expression analysis that a KDM3A/KDM4B/FOXA1 co-regulated gene signature is enriched for pro-proliferative and ER-target gene sets, suggesting that abrogation of this network could be an efficacious therapeutic strategy. Finally, we show that depletion of both KDM3A and KDM4B has a greater inhibitory effect on ER activity and cell growth than knockdown of each individual enzyme, suggesting that targeting both enzymes represents a potentially efficacious therapeutic option for ER-driven breast cancer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones D, Wilson L, Thomas H, Gaughan L, Wade MA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cancers

Year: 2019

Volume: 11

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 06/08/2019

Acceptance date: 03/08/2019

Date deposited: 02/09/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6694

Publisher: MDPI AG


DOI: 10.3390/cancers11081122


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