Acta biochimica et biophysica Sinica

ZFX modulates the growth of human leukemic cells via B4GALT1.

PMID 27797721


Zinc finger protein X-linked (ZFX) is a key regulator of both embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which is required for both Notch intracellular domain (NotchIC)-induced acute T-cell leukemia and MLL-AF9-induced myeloid leukemia in mouse models. However, the role of ZFX and its underlying mechanism in human leukemic cells remain unclear yet, though accumulating data have demonstrated that ZFX is aberrantly expressed in various human tumors and plays an important role. Herein, we found that ZFX was aberrantly expressed in various human leukemic cell lines and primary cells from leukemia patients compared with control cells. The silence of ZFX led to the growth suppression through either the deregulated cell cycle or the induction of apoptosis in various cells including K562, Jurkat, Namalwa, and THP-1 cells. The gene expression analysis revealed that UDP-Gal:βGlcNAc β 1,4-galactosyltransferase, polypeptide 1 (B4GALT1) was significantly down-regulated upon ZFX silencing, which is implicated in the response of K562 cells to the treatment of imatinib mesylate (IM). In addition, lectin blot assay showed that the galactosylation of glycoproteins in K562 cells was suppressed upon ZFX silencing. Interestingly, overexpression of B4GALT1 restored the growth and conferred drug resistance to ZFX-silenced cells. Taken together, we have demonstrated that ZFX is aberrantly expressed in multiple human leukemic cells and it modulates the growth and drug response of leukemic cells partially via B4GALT1, which suggests that ZFX is a new regulator of leukemic cells and warrants intensive investigations on this 'stemness' regulator in these deadly diseases.