Abstract

Aberrant activation of the Hedgehog (Hh) pathway can drive tumorigenesis1. To investigate the mechanism by which glioma-associated oncogene family zinc finger-1 (GLI1), a crucial effector of Hh signaling2, regulates Hh pathway activation, we searched for GLI1-interacting proteins. We report that the chromatin remodeling protein SNF5 (encoded by SMARCB1, hereafter called SNF5), which is inactivated in human malignant rhabdoid tumors (MRTs), interacts with GLI1. We show that Snf5 localizes to Gli1-regulated promoters and that loss of Snf5 leads to activation of the Hh-Gli pathway. Conversely, re-expression of SNF5 in MRT cells represses GLI1. Consistent with this, we show the presence of a Hh-Gli–activated gene expression profile in primary MRTs and show that GLI1 drives the growth of SNF5-deficient MRT cells in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, our studies reveal that SNF5 is a key mediator of Hh signaling and that aberrant activation of GLI1 is a previously undescribed targetable mechanism contributing to the growth of MRT cells.

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Acknowledgements

We thank X. Wang, A. Bouret, J. DaSilva and A. Carlson for their assistance and S. S. Kadam for critical advice. The Gli1 probe was generously provided by C. Tabin (Harvard University Medical School).

Author information

Author notes

    • Marion Dorsch

    Present address: Sanofi-Aventis, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Charles W M Roberts
    •  & Marion Dorsch

    These authors contributed equally to this work.

Affiliations

  1. Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Zainab Jagani
    • , Dongshu Chen
    • , Justin Klekota
    • , Kathy Hsiao
    • , Silvia Buonamici
    • , Sarah J Luchansky
    • , Joshua Murtie
    • , Joseph F Kelleher
    • , Markus Warmuth
    • , William R Sellers
    •  & Marion Dorsch
  2. Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • E Lorena Mora-Blanco
    • , Courtney G Sansam
    • , Elizabeth S McKenna
    • , Boris Wilson
    • , Phuong T L Nguyen
    •  & Charles W M Roberts
  3. Broad Institute of Harvard and M.I.T, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Pablo Tamayo
    • , Yoon-Jae Cho
    •  & Jill P Mesirov
  4. Center for Biomedical Informatics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Michael Tolstorukov
    •  & Peter J Park
  5. Department of Neurology, Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

    • Yoon-Jae Cho
    •  & Scott L Pomeroy
  6. Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Basel, Switzerland.

    • Heinz Ruffner
    •  & Tewis Bouwmeester

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Contributions

Z.J. initiated the studies, conducted most of the experiments, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript. E.L.M.-B. conducted the Gli1 in situ experiments. C.G.S. generated Snf5-inactivated MEFs. E.S.M. contributed to Snf5 re-expression studies. B.W. assisted with ChIP studies. D.C. and J.M. conducted in vivo experiments. J.K. performed statistical analysis from interaction screen. P.T., Y.-J.C., J.P.M. and S.L.P. contributed to the gene expression analysis. M.T. and P.J.P. performed nucleosome repositioning assays. H.R., T.B., S.J.L. and J.F.K. contributed to the TAP-protein interaction screen. P.T.L.N. contributed to GLI shRNA studies. K.H. generated vectors for GLI1 deletions. S.B. contributed to the writing of the manuscript. M.W., W.R.S., C.W.M.R. and M.D. supervised the studies, assisted in data analysis and contributed to the writing of the manuscript.

Competing interests

Z.J., D.C., J.P.M., K.H., S.B., J.K., H.R., T.B., S.L., J.F.K., M.W., and W.R.S. are employees of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR).

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Charles W M Roberts or Marion Dorsch.

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DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/nm.2251

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