Reported online in the July 28 issue of Molecular Cell, a study conducted at MD Anderson has shown that a protein called ZMYND8 blocks expression of metastasis-linked genes in prostate cancer.
Led by Min Gyu Lee, Ph.D., associate professor of Molecular and Cellular Oncology at MD Anderson, researchers looked at modifications that occur in histone, a protein crucial for gene regulation. Histone modifications, such as acetylation and methylation, are often changed in cancer. The team identified that ZMYND8 appeared to affect gene expression because of its ability to recognize these histone modifications. Specifically, ZMYND8 recognized two histone marks, H3K4me1 and H3K14ac, that are tied to metastasis-linked genes.
In previous research, the team found that prostate tumors that had metastasized contained lower levels of a type of histone mark “eraser” called JARID1D than prostate tumors that had not yet metastasized. Now, their latest work suggests that ZMYND8 collaborates with JARID1D to inhibit the expression of metastasis-linked genes by recognizing H3K4me1 and H3K14ac.
“These findings are important because cancer metastasis is a complicated process and is both devastating and clinically challenging,” said Lee. “For metastasis, cancer cells acquire migratory and invasive abilities and so gaining new insight into how this occurs and how to stop metastasis is crucial. We believe this study opens a window into this process.”
Read more about these findings by visiting MD Anderson’s newsroom.