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PloS one

Myxoid liposarcoma-associated EWSR1-DDIT3 selectively represses osteoblastic and chondrocytic transcription in multipotent mesenchymal cells.


PMID 22570737

Abstract

Liposarcomas are the most common class of soft tissue sarcomas, and myxoid liposarcoma is the second most common liposarcoma. EWSR1-DDIT3 is a chimeric fusion protein generated by the myxoid liposarcoma-specific chromosomal translocation t(12;22)(q13;q12). Current studies indicate that multipotent mesenchymal cells are the origin of sarcomas. The mechanism whereby EWSR1-DDIT3 contributes to the phenotypic selection of target cells during oncogenic transformation remains to be elucidated. Reporter assays showed that the EWSR1-DDIT3 myxoid liposarcoma fusion protein, but not its wild-type counterparts EWSR1 and DDIT3, selectively repressed the transcriptional activity of cell lineage-specific marker genes in multipotent mesenchymal C3H10T1/2 cells. Specifically, the osteoblastic marker Opn promoter and chondrocytic marker Col11a2 promoter were repressed, while the adipocytic marker Ppar-γ2 promoter was not affected. Mutation analyses, transient ChIP assays, and treatment of cells with trichostatin A (a potent inhibitor of histone deacetylases) or 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine (a methylation-resistant cytosine homolog) revealed the possible molecular mechanisms underlying the above-mentioned selective transcriptional repression. The first is a genetic action of the EWSR1-DDIT3 fusion protein, which results in binding to the functional C/EBP site within Opn and Col11a2 promoters through interaction of its DNA-binding domain and subsequent interference with endogenous C/EBPβ function. Another possible mechanism is an epigenetic action of EWSR1-DDIT3, which enhances histone deacetylation, DNA methylation, and histone H3K9 trimethylation at the transcriptional repression site. We hypothesize that EWSR1-DDIT3-mediated transcriptional regulation may modulate the target cell lineage through target gene-specific genetic and epigenetic conversions. This study elucidates the molecular mechanisms underlying EWSR1-DDIT3 fusion protein-mediated phenotypic selection of putative target multipotent mesenchymal cells during myxoid liposarcoma development. A better understanding of this process is fundamental to the elucidation of possible direct lineage reprogramming in oncogenic sarcoma transformation mediated by fusion proteins.