Epigenetic alteration is a hallmark of all cancers. Such alterations lead to modulation of fundamental cancer-related functions, such as proliferation, migration, and invasion. In particular, methylation of Histone H3 Lysine 4 (H3K4), a histone mark generally associated with transcriptional activation, is altered during progression of several human cancers. While the depletion of H3K4 demethylases promotes breast cancer metastasis, the effect of H3K4 methyltransferases on metastasis is not clear. Nevertheless, gene duplications in the human SETD1A (hSETD1A) H3K4 methyltransferase are present in almost half of breast cancers. Herein, expression analysis determined that hSETD1A is upregulated in multiple metastatic human breast cancer cell lines and clinical tumor specimens. Ablation of hSETD1A in breast cancer cells led to a decrease in migration and invasion in vitro and to a decrease in metastasis in nude mice. Furthermore, a group of matrix metalloproteinases (including MMP2, MMP9, MMP12, MMP13, and MMP17) were identified which were downregulated upon depletion of hSETD1A and demonstrated a decrease in H3K4me3 at their proximal promoters based on chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. These results provide evidence for a functional and mechanistic link among hSETD1A, MMPs, and metastasis in breast cancer, thereby supporting an oncogenic role for hSETD1A in cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research