Global histone modification patterns correlate with tumor phenotypes and prognostic factors in multiple tumor types. Recent studies suggest that aberrant histone modifications play an important role in cancer. However, the effects of global epigenetic rearrangements on cell functions remain poorly understood. In this study, we show that the histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methyltransferase SUV39H1 is clearly involved in regulating cell migration in vitro. Overexpression of wild-type SUV39H1, but not enzymatically inactive SUV39H1, activated migration in breast and colorectal cancer cells. Inversely, migration was reduced by knockdown of SUV39H1 or chemical inhibition by chaetocin. In addition, H3K9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) was specifically increased in invasive regions of colorectal cancer tissues. Moreover, the presence of H3K9me3 positively correlated with lymph node metastasis in colorectal cancer patients. Furthermore, overexpression of SUV39H1 drove tumorigenesis in mouse, resulting in a considerable decrease in survival rate. These data indicate that H3K9 trimethylation plays an important role in human colorectal cancer progression, possibly by promoting collective cell invasion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research