JMJD2 promotes acquired cisplatin resistance in non-small cell lung carcinoma cells

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Platinum-based drugs such as cisplatin (CP) are the first-line chemotherapy for non-small-cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC). Unfortunately, NSCLC has a low response rate to CP and acquired resistance always occurs. Histone methylation regulates chromatin structure and is implicated in DNA repair. We hypothesize histone methylation regulators are involved in CP resistance. We therefore screened gene expression of known histone methyltransferases and demethylases in three NSCLC cell lines with or without acquired resistance to CP. JMJD2s are a family of histone demethylases that remove tri-methyl groups from H3K9 and H3K36. We found expression of several JMJD2 family genes upregulated in CP-resistant cells, with JMJD2B expression being upregulated in all three CP-resistant NSCLC cell lines. Further analysis showed increased JMJD2 protein expression coincided with decreased H3K9me3 and H3K36me3. Chemical inhibitors of JMJD2-family proteins increased H3K9me3 and H3K36me3 levels and sensitized resistant cells to CP. Mechanistic studies showed that JMJD2 inhibition decreased chromatin association of ATR and Chk1 and inhibited the ATR-Chk1 replication checkpoint. Our results reveal that JMJD2 demethylases are potential therapeutic targets to overcome CP resistance in NSCLC.

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This work was supported in part by a grant from Swim Across America (to CGM). We would like to thank the flow cytometry core at the University of Illinois at Chicago for their assistance in helping us run the replication start assay.

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Correspondence to Carl G. Maki.

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