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Biochem J. 2013 Jan 15;449(2):459-68. doi: 10.1042/BJ20121360.

Loss of LSD1 (lysine-specific demethylase 1) suppresses growth and alters gene expression of human colon cancer cells in a p53- and DNMT1(DNA methyltransferase 1)-independent manner.

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The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.


Epigenetic silencing of gene expression is important in cancer. Aberrant DNA CpG island hypermethylation and histone modifications are involved in the aberrant silencing of tumour-suppressor genes. LSD1 (lysine-specific demethylase 1) is a H3K4 (histone H3 Lys4) demethylase associated with gene repression and is overexpressed in multiple cancer types. LSD1 has also been implicated in targeting p53 and DNMT1 (DNA methyltransferase 1), with data suggesting that the demethylating activity of LSD1 on these proteins is necessary for their stabilization. To examine the role of LSD1 we generated LSD1 heterozygous (LSD1+/-) and homozygous (LSD1-/-) knockouts in the human colorectal cancer cell line HCT116. The deletion of LSD1 led to a reduced cell proliferation both in vitro and in vivo. Surprisingly, the knockout of LSD1 in HCT116 cells did not result in global increases in its histone substrate H3K4me2 (dimethyl-H3K4) or changes in the stability or function of p53 or DNMT1. However, there was a significant difference in gene expression between cells containing LSD1 and those null for LSD1. The results of the present study suggested that LSD1 is critical in the regulation of cell proliferation, but also indicated that LSD1 is not an absolute requirement for the stabilization of either p53 or DNMT1.

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