The SWI/SNF complex and cancer

Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan College of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0686, USA.
Oncogene (Impact Factor: 8.56). 03/2009; 28(14):1653-68. DOI: 10.1038/onc.2009.4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The mammalian SWI/SNF complexes mediate ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling processes that are critical for differentiation and proliferation. Not surprisingly, loss of SWI/SNF function has been associated with malignant transformation, and a substantial body of evidence indicates that several components of the SWI/SNF complexes function as tumor suppressors. This review summarizes the evidence that underlies this conclusion, with particular emphasis upon the two catalytic subunits of the SWI/SNF complexes, BRM, the mammalian ortholog of SWI2/SNF2 in yeast and brahma in Drosophila, and Brahma-related gene-1 (BRG1).

Download full-text


Available from: David Reisman, May 19, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: eLife digest Stem cells show great promise for repairing damaged tissue, and maybe even generating new organs, but stem cell therapies will only be successful if researchers can understand and control the behaviour of stem cells in the lab. Neural stem cells or ‘neuroblasts’ from the brains of larval fruit flies have become a popular model for studying these processes, and one type of neuroblast—known as a ‘type II’ neuroblast—is similar to mammalian neural stem cells in many ways. When type II neuroblasts divide, they generate another neuroblast and a second cell called an intermediate neural progenitor (INP) cell. This progenitor cell then matures and undergoes a limited number of divisions to generate more INP cells and cells called ganglion mother cells. The process by which stem cells and INP cells become specific types of cells is known as differentiation. However, under certain circumstances, the INP cells can undergo the opposite process, which is called dedifferentiation, and become ‘ectopic neuroblasts’. This can give rise to tumors, so cells must employ a mechanism to prevent dedifferentiation. Researchers have known that a protein specifically expressed in INP cells called Earmuff is involved in this process, but many of the details have remained hidden. Now, Koe et al. have discovered that a multi-protein complex containing Earmuff and a number of other proteins—Brahma and HDAC3—have important roles in preventing dedifferentiation. All three proteins are involved in different aspects of gene expression: Earmuff is a transcription factor that controls the process by which the genes in DNA are transcribed to make molecules of messenger RNA; Brahma and HDAC3 are both involved in a process called chromatin remodeling. The DNA inside cells is packaged into a compact structure known as chromatin, and chromatin remodeling involves partially unpacking this structure so that transcription factors and other proteins can have access to the DNA. Koe et al. also showed that Earmuff, Brahma and HDAC3 combine to form a complex that prevents dedifferentiation. An immediate priority is to identify those genes whose expression is regulated by this complex in order to prevent dedifferentiation. DOI:
    eLife Sciences 03/2014; 3:e01906. DOI:10.7554/eLife.01906 · 8.52 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Proximal type epithelioid sarcoma shares similarities with malignant rhabdoid tumor, including the lack of nuclear immunoreactivity of SMARCB1. Biallelic mutation of SMARCB1 has been convincingly established as the cause of loss of protein expression in rhabdoid tumor, but the cause in epithelioid sarcoma remains unknown. In our previous work, we demonstrated that DNA hypermethylation and post-translational modification mechanisms were not involved. In this current work, we explored the hypothesis that miRNAs regulate SMARCB1 gene expression in epithelioid sarcomas. In silico target prediction analysis revealed eight candidate miRNAs, and quantitative PCR-in 32 formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumor samples comprising 30 epithelioid sarcomas and two malignant rhabdoid tumors-demonstrated significant (P < 0.001) overexpression of four miRNAs in epithelioid sarcomas: miR-206, miR-381, miR-671-5p, and miR-765. Two human tumors (fibrosarcoma and colon adenocarcinoma) and a normal cell line (human dermal fibroblast) with retained SMARCB1 expression were cultured for miRNA transient transfection (electroporation) experiments. SMARCB1 mRNA expression was analyzed by quantitative real-time PCR and immunostaining of SMARCB1 was performed to examine the effect of miRNAs transfections on both RNA and protein levels. Only three of the overexpressed miRNAs (miR-206, miR-381, and miR-671-5p) could silence the SMARCB1 mRNA expression in cell cultures; most effectively miR-206. Transfection of miR-206, miR-381, miR-671-5p, and some combination of them also eliminated SMARCB1 nuclear staining, demonstrating a strong effect on not only mRNA but also protein levels. Our results suggest loss of SMARCB1 protein expression in epithelioid sarcoma is due to the epigenetic mechanism of gene silencing by oncomiRs. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Genes Chromosomes and Cancer 02/2014; 53(2):168-76. DOI:10.1002/gcc.22128 · 3.84 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Cancer genetic heterogeneity offers a wide repertoire of molecular determinants to be screened as therapeutic targets. Here, we identify potential anticancer targets by exploiting negative genetic interactions between genes with driver loss-of-function mutations (recessive cancer genes) and their functionally redundant paralogs. We identify recessive genes with additional copies and experimentally test our predictions on three paralogous pairs. We confirm digenic negative interactions between two cancer genes (SMARCA4 and CDH1) and their corresponding paralogs (SMARCA2 and CDH3). Furthermore, we identify a trigenic negative interaction between the cancer gene DNMT3A, its functional paralog DNMT3B, and a third gene, DNMT1, which encodes the only other human DNA-methylase domain. Although our study does not exclude other causes of synthetic lethality, it suggests that functionally redundant paralogs of cancer genes could be targets in anticancer therapy.
    Cell Reports 12/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2013.11.033 · 7.21 Impact Factor