Polycomb repressive complex 2 and induced basal-like breast cancer phenotype mediated by cyclin E/Cdk2

Chen-Chieh Yang, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Despite of much success of breast cancer treatment, basal-like breast cancer subtype still presented as a clinical challenge to mammary oncologist for its lack of available targeted therapy owing to their negative expression of targeted molecules, such as PgR, ERα and Her2. These molecules are all critical regulators in mammary gland development. EZH2, a histone methyltransferase, by forming Polycomb Repressive Complex 2(PRC2) can directly suppress a large array of developmental regulators. Overexpression of cyclin E has also been correlated with basal-like (triple-negative) breast cancer and poor prognosis. We found an important functional link between these two molecules. Cyclin E/Cdk2 can enhance PRC2 function by phosphorylating a specific residue of EZH2, threonine 416 and increasing EZH2's ability to complex with SUZ12. This regulation would further recruit whole PRC2 complex to core promoter regions of these developmental regulators. The local enrichment of PRC2 complex would then trimethylate H3K27 around the core promoter regions and suppress the expression of targeted genes, which included PgR, ERα, erbB2 and BRCA1. This widespread gene suppressive effect imposed by highly active PRC2 complex would then transform the lumina) type cell to adopt a basal-like phenotype. This finding suggested deregulated Cdk2 activity owing to cyclin E overexpression may contribute to basal phenotype through enhancing epigenetic silencing effects by regulating PRC2 function. Inhibition of Cdk2 activity in basal-like cancer cells may help release the suppression, reexpress the silenced genes and become responsive to existing anti-hormone or anti-Her2 therapy. From this study, the mechanisms described here provided a rationale to target basal-like breast cancer by new combinational therapy of Cdk2 inhibitors together with Lapatinib, or Aromatin.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Yang, Chen-Chieh, "Polycomb repressive complex 2 and induced basal-like breast cancer phenotype mediated by cyclin E/Cdk2" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3394533.