Cancer research

KRAB zinc finger protein ZNF382 is a proapoptotic tumor suppressor that represses multiple oncogenes and is commonly silenced in multiple carcinomas.

PMID 20682794


Zinc finger transcription factors are involved broadly in development and tumorigenesis. Here, we report that the little studied zinc finger transcription factor ZNF382 functions as a tumor suppressor in multiple carcinomas. Although broadly expressed in normal tissues, ZNF382 expression was attenuated in multiple carcinoma cell lines due to promoter CpG methylation. ZNF382 was also frequently methylated in multiple primary tumors (nasopharyngeal, esophageal, colon, gastric, and breast). Ectopic expression of ZNF382 in silenced tumor cells significantly inhibited their clonogenicity and proliferation and induced apoptosis. We further found that ZNF382 inhibited NF-kappaB and AP-1 signaling and downregulated the expression of multiple oncogenes including MYC, MITF, HMGA2, and CDK6, as well as the NF-kappaB upstream factors STAT3, STAT5B, ID1, and IKBKE, most likely through heterochromatin silencing. ZNF382 could suppress tumorigenesis through heterochromatin-mediated silencing, as ZNF382 was colocalized and interacted with heterochromatin protein HP1 and further changed the chromatin modifications of ZNF382 target oncogenes. Our data show that ZNF382 is a functional tumor suppressor frequently methylated in multiple carcinomas.