Epigenetic Remodeling through Downregulation of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 Mediates Chemotherapy Resistance in Testicular Germ Cell Tumors

Ratnakar Singh, Zeeshan Fazal, Andrea K. Corbet, Emmanuel Bikorimana, Jennifer C. Rodriguez, Ema M. Khan, Khadeeja Shahid, Sarah Joy Spinella, Michael J Spinella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

A greater understanding of the hypersensitivity and curability of testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) has the potential to inform strategies to sensitize other solid tumors to conventional chemotherapies. The mechanisms of cisplatin hypersensitivity and resistance in embryonal carcinoma (EC), the stem cells of TGCTs, remain largely undefined. To study the mechanisms of cisplatin resistance we generated a large panel of independently derived, acquired resistant clones from three distinct parental EC models employing a protocol designed to match standard of care regimens of TGCT patients. Transcriptomics revealed highly significant expression changes shared between resistant cells regardless of their parental origin. This was dominated by a highly significant enrichment of genes normally repressed by H3K27 methylation and the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) which correlated with a substantial decrease in global H3K27me3, H2AK119 ubiquitination, and expression of BMI1. Importantly, repression of H3K27 methylation with the EZH2 inhibitor GSK-126 conferred cisplatin resistance to parental cells while induction of H3K27 methylation with the histone lysine demethylase inhibitor GSK-J4 resulted in increased cisplatin sensitivity to resistant cells. A gene signature based on H3K27me gene enrichment was associated with an increased rate of recurrent/progressive disease in testicular cancer patients. Our data indicates that repression of H3K27 methylation is a mechanism of cisplatin acquired resistance in TGCTs and that restoration of PRC2 complex function is a viable approach to overcome treatment failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number796
JournalCancers
Volume11
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 8 2019

Keywords

  • Cisplatin
  • Epigenetics
  • H3K273me
  • Histone methylation
  • Polycomb repressive complex
  • Testicular cancer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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