MUC1-C activates the NuRD complex to drive dedifferentiation of triple-negative breast cancer cells

Tsuyoshi Hata, Hasan Rajabi, Hidekazu Takahashi, Yota Yasumizu, Wei Li, Caining Jin, Mark D. Long, Qiang Hu, Song Liu, Atsushi Fushimi, Nami Yamashita, Ling Kui, Deli Hong, Masaaki Yamamoto, Masaaki Miyo, Masayuki Hiraki, Takahiro Maeda, Yozo Suzuki, Mehmet K. Samur, Donald Kufe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The NuRD chromatin remodeling and deacetylation complex, which includes MTA1, MBD3, CHD4, and HDAC1 among other components, is of importance for development and cancer progression. The oncogenic mucin 1 (MUC1) C-terminal subunit (MUC1-C) protein activates EZH2 and BMI1 in the epigenetic reprogramming of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, there is no known link between MUC1-C and chromatin remodeling complexes. Here, we showed that MUC1-C binds directly to the MYC HLH-LZ domain and identified a previously unrecognized MUC1-C!MYC pathway that regulates the NuRD complex. MUC1-C/MYC complexes selectively activated the MTA1 and MBD3 genes and posttranscriptionally induced CHD4 expression in basal- but not luminal-type BC cells. In turn, MUC1-C formed complexes with these NuRD components on the ESR1 promoter. Downregulating MUC1-C decreased MTA1/MBD3/ CHD4/HDAC1 occupancy and increased H3K27 acetylation on the ESR1 promoter, with induction of ESR1 expression and downstream estrogen response pathways. Targeting MUC1-C and these NuRD components also induced expression of FOXA1, GATA3, and other markers associated with the luminal phenotype. These findings support a model in which MUC1-C activates the NuRD complex to drive dedifferentiation and reprogramming of TNBC cells. Significance: MUC1-C directly interacts with MYC to activate the NuRD complex, mediating regulation of the estrogen receptor in triple-negative breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5711-5722
Number of pages12
JournalCancer Research
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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