Centre for Precision Health / School of Medical and Health Sciences
Royal Perth Hospital Medical Research Foundation (AJW) / Cancer Council of Western Australia (WA) (AJW) / Department of Health, Government of WA (AJW) Walk for Women’s Cancer Gift (AJW) / Breast cancer research in JW laboratory was supported by Department of Defense (BC200469)
The MYC proto-oncogene (MYC) is one of the most frequently overexpressed genes in breast cancer that drives cancer stem cell-like traits, resulting in aggressive disease progression and poor prognosis. In this study, we identified zinc finger transcription factor 148 (ZNF148, also called Zfp148 and ZBP-89) as a direct target of MYC. ZNF148 suppressed cell proliferation and migration and was transcriptionally repressed by MYC in breast cancer. Depletion of ZNF148 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) and CRISPR/Cas9 increased triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell proliferation and migration. Global transcriptome and chromatin occupancy analyses of ZNF148 revealed a central role in inhibiting cancer cell de-differentiation and migration. Mechanistically, we identified the Inhibitor of DNA binding 1 and 3 (ID1, ID3), drivers of cancer stemness and plasticity, as previously uncharacterized targets of transcriptional repression by ZNF148. Silencing of ZNF148 increased the stemness and tumorigenicity in TNBC cells. These findings uncover a previously unknown tumor suppressor role for ZNF148, and a transcriptional regulatory circuitry encompassing MYC, ZNF148, and ID1/3 in driving cancer stem cell traits in aggressive breast cancer.
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