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Trends Mol Med. 2019 Feb 19. pii: S1471-4914(19)30019-X. doi: 10.1016/j.molmed.2019.01.008. [Epub ahead of print]

Pioneer Factors and Architectural Proteins Mediating Embryonic Expression Signatures in Cancer.

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Lung Cancer Epigenetic, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany.
Lung Cancer Epigenetic, Max-Planck-Institute for Heart and Lung Research, 61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany; Laboratoire Croissance, Réparation et Régénération Tissulaires (CRRET), CNRS ERL 9215, Université Paris Est Créteil, Université Paris Est, F-94000, Créteil, France; Institute of Fundamental Medicine and Biology, Kazan (Volga Region) Federal University, 420008 Kazan, Russian Federation; Member of the Excellence Cluster Cardio Pulmonary System (ECCPS), Universities of Giessen and Marburg Lung Center (UGMLC), 35932 Giessen, Germany; Member of the German Center of Lung Research (Deutsches Zentrum für Lungenforschung, DZL). Electronic address:


Accumulation of mutations causing aberrant changes in the genome promotes cancer. However, mutations do not occur in every cancer subtype, suggesting additional events that trigger cancer. Chromatin rearrangements initiated by pioneer factors and architectural proteins are key events occurring before cancer-related genes are expressed. Both protein groups are also master regulators of important processes during embryogenesis. Several publications demonstrated that embryonic gene expression signatures are reactivated during cancer. This review article highlights current knowledge on pioneer factors and architectural proteins mediating chromatin rearrangements, which are the backbone of embryonic expression signatures promoting malignant transformation. Understanding chromatin rearrangements inducing embryonic expression signatures in adult cells might be the key to novel therapeutic approaches against cancers subtypes that arise without genomic mutations.


architectural proteins; cancer; embryonic; expression signature; pioneer factors

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