TFAP2C regulates carbonic anhydrase XII in human breast cancer

Abstract

The expression of carbonic anhydrase XII (CA12) is associated with the expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in breast cancer and is linked to a good prognosis with a lower risk of metastasis. Transcription Factor Activator Protein 2γ (TFAP2C, AP-2γ) governs luminal breast cancer phenotype through direct and indirect regulation of ERα and ERα-associated genes, GATA3, FOXA1, EGFR, CDH1, DSP, KRT7, FBP1, MYB, RET, KRT8, MUC1, and ERBB2—genes which are responsible for the luminal signature in breast cancer. Herein, utilizing chromatin immunoprecipitation and direct sequencing (ChIP-seq), we show that CA12 is regulated by AP-2γ through binding with its promoter region in luminal breast cancer cell lines and indirectly through a distal estrogen-responsive region in ERα-positive cell lines by upregulation of ERα. CA12 is transcriptionally silenced in basal breast cancer cell lines through histone deacetylation and CpG methylation of the promoter region and can be re-activated with Trichostatin A (histone deacetylase inhibitor) and/or 5-aza-dC (an inhibitor of DNA methylation). Strong concordance in co-expression of CA12 and ESR1 (R2 = 0.1128, p = 0486) and TFAP2C (R2 = 0.1823, p = 0.0105) was found using a panel of primary breast tumor samples (n = 35), supporting a synergetic role of AP-2γ and ERα in activation of CA12. Our results highlight the essential role of AP-2γ in maintaining the luminal breast cancer phenotype and provide evidence that epigenetic mechanisms silence luminal gene expression in the basal phenotype. Additional studies to decipher mechanisms that drive epigenetic silencing of AP-2γ target genes are a critical area for further research.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank Zhaoming Wang for his excellent technical skills in cell culture. Also, we appreciate technical support provided by Keith D. Brendes.

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Correspondence to Mikhail V. Kulak.

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Franke, C.M., Gu, V.W., Grimm, B.G. et al. TFAP2C regulates carbonic anhydrase XII in human breast cancer. Oncogene 39, 1290–1301 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41388-019-1062-5

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