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Cancer Res. 2019 May 6. pii: canres.2070.2018. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2070. [Epub ahead of print]

Collagen prolyl hydroxylation-dependent metabolic perturbation governs epigenetic remodeling and mesenchymal transition in pluripotent and cancer cells.

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Institute of Genetics and Biophysics.
Institute FIRC of Molecular Oncology and University of Milan, IFOM Foundation.
Department Translational Research in Psychiatry, Max Planck Institute for Psichiatry.
Biology, IRBM Science Park.
Molceular Oncology, IFOM, the FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology.
IGB-CNR, Institute of Genetics and Biophysics A. Buzzati-Traverso, IGB-CNR.
Institute of Genetics and Biophysics "A. Buzzati-Traverso", CNR


Collagen prolyl hydroxylation (CPH), which is catalyzed by prolyl 4-hydroxylase (P4H), is the most prevalent posttranslational modification in humans and requires Vitamin C (VitC). Here we demonstrate that CPH acts as an epigenetic modulator of cell plasticity. Increased CPH induced global DNA/histone methylation in pluripotent stem and tumor cells and promoted cell state transition (CST). Interfering with CPH by either genetic ablation of P4H subunit alpha-2 (P4HA2) or pharmacologic treatment reverted epigenetic changes and antagonized CST. Mechanistically, we suggest that CPH modifies the epigenetic landscape by reducing VitC for DNA and histone demethylases. Repurposed drugs targeting CPH-mediated metabolic perturbation, such as the antiasthmatic Budesonide, blocked metastatic dissemination of breast cancer cells in vivo by preventing mesenchymal transition. Our study provides mechanistic insights into how metabolic cues and epigenetic factors integrate to control cell state transition and paves the way for the development of novel antimetastatic strategies.

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