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Malignant lung cancer cells are characterized by uncontrolled proliferation and migration. Aberrant lung cancer cell proliferation and migration are programmed by altered cancer transcriptome. The underlying epigenetic mechanism is unclear. Here we report that expression levels of BRG1, a chromatin remodeling protein, were significantly up-regulated in human lung cancer biopsy specimens of higher malignancy grades compared to those of lower grades. Small interfering RNA mediated depletion or pharmaceutical inhibition of BRG1 suppressed proliferation and migration of lung cancer cells. BRG1 depletion or inhibition was paralleled by down-regulation of cyclin B1 (CCNB1) and latent TGF-β binding protein 2 (LTBP2) in lung cancer cells. Further analysis revealed that BRG1 directly bound to the CCNB1 promoter to activate transcription in response to hypoxia stimulation by interacting with E2F1. On the other hand, BRG1 interacted with Sp1 to activate LTBP2 transcription. Mechanistically, BRG1 regulated CCNB1 and LTBP2 transcription by altering histone modifications on target promoters. Specifically, BRG1 recruited KDM3A, a histone H3K9 demethylase, to remove dimethyl H3K9 from target gene promoters thereby activating transcription. KDM3A knockdown achieved equivalent effects as BRG1 silencing by diminishing lung cancer proliferation and migration. Of interest, BRG1 directly activated KDM3A transcription by forming a complex with HIF-1α. In conclusion, our data unveil a novel epigenetic mechanism whereby malignant lung cancer cells acquired heightened ability to proliferate and migrate. Targeting BRG1 may yield effective interventional strategies against malignant lung cancers.
PMID: 31695026 [PubMed]