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ZHX2 Promotes HIF1α Oncogenic Signaling in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

By Wentong Fang, Chengheng Liao, Rachel Shi, Jeremy Simon, Travis Ptacek, Giada Zurlo, Youqiong Ye, Leng Han, Cheng Fan, Christopher Llynard Ortiz, Hong-Rui Lin, Ujjawal Manocha, Weibo Luo, William Y. Kim, Lee-Wei Yang, Qing Zhang

Posted 28 May 2021
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.05.27.445959

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive and highly lethal disease, which warrants the critical need to identify new therapeutic targets. We show that Zinc Fingers And Homeoboxes 2 (ZHX2) is amplified or overexpressed in TNBC cell lines and patients. Functionally, depletion of ZHX2 inhibited TNBC cell growth and invasion in vitro, orthotopic tumor growth and spontaneous lung metastasis in vivo. Mechanistically, ZHX2 bound with hypoxia inducible factor (HIF) family members and positively regulated HIF1 activity in TNBC. Integrated ChIP-Seq and gene expression profiling demonstrated that ZHX2 co-occupied with HIF1 on transcriptionally active promoters marked by H3K4me3 and H3K27ac, thereby promoting gene expression. Furthermore, multiple residues (R491, R581 and R674) on ZHX2 are important in regulating its phenotype, which correspond with their roles on controlling HIF1 activity in TNBC cells. These studies establish that ZHX2 activates oncogenic HIF1 signaling, therefore serving as a potential therapeutic target for TNBC.

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