ZBTB4 is a transcriptional repressor and examination of publically-available microarray data sets demonstrated an inverse relationship in the prognostic value and expression of ZBTB4 and the histone methyltransferase EZH2 in tumors from breast cancer patients. The possibility of functional interactions between EZH2 and ZBTB4 was investigated in breast cancer cells and the results showed that EZH2 is directly suppressed by ZBTB4 which in turn is regulated (suppressed) by miR-106b and other paralogues from the miR-17-92, miR-106b-25 and miR-106a-363 clusters that are highly expressed in breast and other tumors. ZBTB4 also acts a suppressor of specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4, and RNA interference studies show that Sp proteins are required for EZH2 expression. The prediction analysis results from breast cancer patient array data sets confirm an association of Sp1-dependent EZH2 gene signature with decreased survival of breast cancer patients. Disruption of oncogenic miR-ZBTB4 signaling axis by anticancer agent such as betulinic acid that induce down-regulation of Sp proteins in breast cancer cells resulted in inhibition of tumor growth and colonization of breast cancer cells in a mouse model. Thus, EZH2 is reciprocally regulated by a novel signaling network consisting of Sp proteins, oncogenic miRs and ZBTB4, and modulation of this gene network is a novel therapeutic approach for treatment of breast cancer and possibly other cancers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research