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Gallo M.,Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program and Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Center | Coutinho F.J.,Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program and Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Center | Coutinho F.J.,University of Toronto | Vanner R.J.,Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program and Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Center | And 36 more authors.
Cancer Cell | Year: 2015

Mutations in the histone 3 variant H3.3 have been identified in one-third of pediatric glioblastomas (GBMs), but not in adult tumors. Here we show that H3.3 is a dynamic determinant of functional properties in adult GBM. H3.3 is repressed by mixed lineage leukemia 5 (MLL5) in self-renewing GBM cells. MLL5 is a global epigenetic repressor that orchestrates reorganization of chromatin structure by punctuating chromosomes with foci of compacted chromatin, favoring tumorigenic and self-renewing properties. Conversely, H3.3 antagonizes self-renewal and promotes differentiation. We exploited these epigenetic states to rationally identify two small molecules that effectively curb cancer stem cell properties in a preclinical model. Our work uncovers a role for MLL5 and H3.3 in maintaining self-renewal hierarchies in adult GBM. © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Source

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