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J Biol Chem. 2013 Mar 22;288(12):8332-41. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.454280. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Physical interaction between MYCN oncogene and polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) in neuroblastoma: functional and therapeutic implications.

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  • 1Molecular Haematology and Cancer Biology Unit, University College London Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.


CLU (clusterin) is a tumor suppressor gene that we have previously shown to be negatively modulated by the MYCN proto-oncogene, but the mechanism of repression was unclear. Here, we show that MYCN inhibits the expression of CLU by direct interaction with the non-canonical E box sequence CACGCG in the 5'-flanking region. Binding of MYCN to the CLU gene induces bivalent epigenetic marks and recruitment of repressive proteins such as histone deacetylases and Polycomb members. MYCN physically binds in vitro and in vivo to EZH2, a component of the Polycomb repressive complex 2, required to repress CLU. Notably, EZH2 interacts with the Myc box domain 3, a segment of MYC known to be essential for its transforming effects. The expression of CLU can be restored in MYCN-amplified cells by epigenetic drugs with therapeutic results. Importantly, the anticancer effects of the drugs are ablated if CLU expression is blunted by RNA interference. Our study implies that MYC tumorigenesis can be effectively antagonized by epigenetic drugs that interfere with the recruitment of chromatin modifiers at repressive E boxes of tumor suppressor genes such as CLU.

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