Loss or inactivation of the histone H3K27 demethylase UTX occurs in several malignancies, including multiple myeloma (MM). Using an isogenic cell system, we found that loss of UTX leads to deactivation of gene expression ultimately promoting the proliferation, clonogenicity, adhesion, and tumorigenicity of MM cells. Moreover, UTX mutant cells showed increased in vitro and in vivo sensitivity to inhibition of EZH2, a histone methyltransferase that generates H3K27me3. Such sensitivity was related to a decrease in the levels of IRF4 and c-MYC and an activation of repressors of IRF4 characteristic of germinal center B cells such as BCL6 and IRF1. Rebalance of H3K27me3 levels at specific genes through EZH2 inhibitors may be a therapeutic strategy in MM cases harboring UTX mutations. Ezponda et al. now demonstrate how the loss of UTX/KDM6A, a factor that regulates chromatin, contributes to multiple myeloma, conferring malignant properties to these cells. Moreover, they show how the use of EZH2 inhibitors, currently in clinical trials, specifically affect MM cells harboring UTX loss.
- EZH2 inhibitors
- epigenetic regulator
- multiple myeloma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)