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J Biol Chem 2017 Aug 04;29231:12842-12859. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M117.785865.
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Similarity in gene-regulatory networks suggests that cancer cells share characteristics of embryonic neural cells.

Zhang Z , Lei A , Xu L , Chen L , Chen Y , Zhang X , Gao Y , Yang X , Zhang M , Cao Y .

Cancer cells are immature cells resulting from cellular reprogramming by gene misregulation, and redifferentiation is expected to reduce malignancy. It is unclear, however, whether cancer cells can undergo terminal differentiation. Here, we show that inhibition of the epigenetic modification enzyme enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2), histone deacetylases 1 and 3 (HDAC1 and -3), lysine demethylase 1A (LSD1), or DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), which all promote cancer development and progression, leads to postmitotic neuron-like differentiation with loss of malignant features in distinct solid cancer cell lines. The regulatory effect of these enzymes in neuronal differentiation resided in their intrinsic activity in embryonic neural precursor/progenitor cells. We further found that a major part of pan-cancer-promoting genes and the signal transducers of the pan-cancer-promoting signaling pathways, including the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) mesenchymal marker genes, display neural specific expression during embryonic neurulation. In contrast, many tumor suppressor genes, including the EMT epithelial marker gene that encodes cadherin 1 (CDH1), exhibited non-neural or no expression. This correlation indicated that cancer cells and embryonic neural cells share a regulatory network, mediating both tumorigenesis and neural development. This observed similarity in regulatory mechanisms suggests that cancer cells might share characteristics of embryonic neural cells.

PubMed ID: 28634230
PMC ID: PMC5546026
Article link: J Biol Chem

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: ahr akt1 akt2 apc arid1a axin1 axl bcl9 birc5l brms1 casp9 cbl ccnd1 cdh1 cdh2 cdk1 cdkn1a cdkn1b cdkn2b cdt1 chfr cnp crk ctnnb1 ddx5 dek dlc1 dmbt1 dnmt1 dot1l dyrk1a.2 e2f1 ehmt2 eif3c eif4g1 ezh2 gas1 hdac1 hdac2 hdac3 hexim1 hgf hic1 hras itk jak2 kdm1a kdm3a kdm4a kdm5b krasl krt12.4 mcam mgmt msi1 mta1 nes npb nppa nras nsd2 ogt pbrm1 pcna pdcd4 perp phlpp1 pik3ca pim1 pkm plk1 ppm1d prkaa1 prkaa2 prmt1 prmt5 pten ptgs2 ptk2 rad21 raf1 ret rheb setd1a setdb1 slc16a1 smad1 smad2 smad4 snai1 snd1 sox2 st13 stat3.2 stoml2 tert tet2 tgfbr1 tk1 tmem97 top1 top2a tp53 tp53bp2 tp73 txnip ube2c usp39 usp7 vav2 vim xpo1 yy1 zeb1 zeb2
GO keywords: neurogenesis

Disease Ontology terms: cancer

Article Images: [+] show captions
References [+] :
Aiello, Echoes of the embryo: using the developmental biology toolkit to study cancer. 2016, Pubmed