Role of Polycomb Group Proteins in Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Cancer

Molecular Oncology Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, London, United Kingdom.
DNA and Cell Biology (Impact Factor: 2.06). 03/2005; 24(2):117-25. DOI: 10.1089/dna.2005.24.117
Source: PubMed


Polycomb group proteins (PcG) form part of a gene regulatory mechanism that determines cell fate during normal and pathogenic development. The mechanism relies on epigenetic modifications on specific histone tails that are inherited through cell divisions, thus behaving de facto as a cellular memory. This cellular memory governs key events in organismal development as well as contributing to the control of normal cell growth and differentiation. Consequently, the dysregulation of PcG genes, such as Bmi1, Pc2, Cbx7, and EZH2 has been linked with the aberrant proliferation of cancer cells. Furthermore, at least three PcG genes, Bmi1, Rae28, and Mel18, appear to regulate self-renewal of specific stem cell types suggesting a link between the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and tumorigenesis. In this review, we will briefly summarize current views on PcG function and the evidence linking specific PcG proteins with the behavior of stem cells and cancer cells.

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    • "mediated T cell activation (Su et al., 2005), maintenance of circadian clock function (Etchegaray et al., 2006), cell differentiation (Gil et al., 2005), senescence(Kamminga et al., 2006) and transcriptional activation (Shi et al., 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: The histone methyltransferase EZH2 (enhancer of zeste homolog 2) plays critical roles in prostate cancer (PCa) development and is a potential target for PCa treatment. Triptolide possesses anti-tumor activity, but it is unknown whether its therapeutic effect relates with EZH2 in PCa. Here we described EZH2 as a target for Triptolide in PCa cells. Our data showed that Triptolide suppressed PCa cell growth and reduced the expression of EZH2. Overexpression of EZH2 attenuated the Triptolide induced cell growth inhibition. Moreover, Triptolide treatment of PC-3 cells resulted in elevated mRNA levels of target genes (ADRB2, CDH1, CDKN2A and DAB2IP) negatively regulated by EZH2 as well as reduced mRNA levelsan of EZH2 positively regulated gene (cyclin D1). Our findings suggest the PCa cell growth inhibition mediated by Triptolide might be associated with downregulation of EZH2 expression and the subsequent modulation of target genes.
    Asian Pacific journal of cancer prevention: APJCP 10/2013; 14(10):5663-9. DOI:10.7314/APJCP.2013.14.10.5663 · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    • "The Bmi-1 belongs to the polycomb group family [5] which remodels chromatin protein and deregulates genes commonly involved in carcinogenesis [6,7]. In earlier reports, Bmi-1 was reported to suppress the expression of p16 and p14 at the INK4A locus to overcome cellular senescence [8]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC) is common among southern Chinese including the ethnic Cantonese population living in Hong Kong. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is detected in all undifferentiated type of NPC in this endemic region. Establishment of stable and latent EBV infection in premalignant nasopharyngeal epithelial cells is an early event in NPC development and may contribute to its pathogenesis. Immortalized primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells represent an important tool for investigation of EBV infection and its tumorigenic potential in this special type of epithelial cells. However, the limited availability and small sizes of nasopharyngeal biopsies have seriously restricted the establishment of primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells for immortalization. A reliable and effective method to immortalize primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells will provide unrestricted materials for EBV infection studies. An earlier study has reported that Bmi-1 expression could immortalize primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. However, its efficiency and actions in immortalization have not been fully characterized. Our studies showed that Bmi-1 expression alone has limited ability to immortalize primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells and additional events are often required for its immortalization action. We have identified some of the key events associated with the immortalization of primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells. Efficient immortalization of nasopharyngeal epithelial cells could be reproducibly and efficiently achieved by the combined actions of Bmi-1 expression, activation of telomerase and silencing of p16 gene. Activation of MAPK signaling and gene expression downstream of Bmi-1 were detected in the immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cells and may play a role in immortalization. Furthermore, these newly immortalized nasopharyngeal epithelial cells are susceptible to EBV infection and supported a type II latent EBV infection program characteristic of EBV-infected nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The establishment of an efficient method to immortalize primary nasopharyngeal epithelial cells will facilitate the investigation into the role of EBV infection in pathogenesis of nasopharyngeal carcinoma.
    PLoS ONE 10/2013; 8(10):e78395. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0078395 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Shimono et al. [33] have reported that Bmi1, a member of the polycomb group proteins, is targeted by miR-200c linking breast cancer stem cells with normal stem cells. Furthermore, Bmi1 is involved in the maintenance of stemness and in the regulation of senescence [46], [47], [48]. Thereby, Bmi1 functions as transcriptional repressor of a variety of genes including p16Ink4a and p19Arf of the Ink4a locus. "
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    ABSTRACT: Acquired resistance to classical chemotherapeutics is a major obstacle in cancer treatment. Doxorubicin is frequently used in breast cancer therapy either as single-agent or in combination with other drugs like docetaxel and cyclophosphamide. All these chemotherapies have in common that they are administered sequentially and often result in chemoresistance. Here, we mimicked this pulse therapy of breast cancer patients in an in vitro cell culture model, where the epithelial breast cancer cell line BT474 was sequentially treated with doxorubicin for several treatment cycles. In consequence, we obtained chemoresistant cells displaying a mesenchymal-like phenotype with decreased levels of miR-200c. To investigate the involvement of miR-200c in resistance formation, we inhibited and overexpressed miR-200c in different cell lines. Thereby, the cells were rendered more resistant or susceptible to doxorubicin treatment. Moreover, the receptor tyrosine kinase TrkB and the transcriptional repressor Bmi1 were identified as miR-200c targets mediating the drug resistance. Hence, we provide a mechanism of acquired resistance to doxorubicin that is caused by the loss of miR-200c. Along with this, our study demonstrates the complex network of microRNA mediated chemoresistance highlighting the challenges in cancer therapy and the importance of novel microRNA-modulating anticancer agents.
    PLoS ONE 11/2012; 7(11):e50469. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0050469 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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