SMC3 epigenetic silencing regulates Rab27a expression and drives pancreatic cancer progression

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Bastos, Nuno 
Castaldo, Stéphanie A 
Adem, Bárbara 
Machado, José C 
Melo, Carlos A 

jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:sec jats:titleBackground</jats:title> jats:pPancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is expected to soon surpass colorectal cancer as a leading cause of cancer mortality in both males and females in the US, only lagging behind lung cancer. The lethality of PDAC is driven by late diagnosis and inefficient therapies. The complex biology of PDAC involves various cellular components, including exosomes that carry molecular information between cells. Thus, recipient cells can be reprogrammed, impacting tumorigenesis. Rab27a is a GTPase responsible for the last step of exosomes biogenesis. Hence, dissecting the mechanisms that regulate the expression of Rab27a and that control exosomes biogenesis can provide fundamental insights into the molecular underpinnings regulating PDAC progression.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleMethods</jats:title> jats:pTo assess the mechanism that regulates Rab27a expression in PDAC, we used PDAC cell lines. The biological significance of these findings was validated in PDAC genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) and human samples.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleResults</jats:title> jats:pIn this work we demonstrate in human PDAC samples and GEMMs that Rab27a expression decreases throughout the development of the disease, and that Rab27a knockout promotes disease progression. What is more, we demonstrate that Rab27a expression is epigenetically regulated in PDAC. Treatment with demethylating agents increases Rab27a expression specifically in human PDAC cell lines. We found that SMC3, a component of the cohesin complex, regulates Rab27a expression in PDAC. SMC3 methylation is present in human PDAC specimens and treatment with demethylating agents increases SMC3 expression in human PDAC cell lines. Most importantly, high levels of SMC3 methylation are associated with a worse prognosis in PDAC. Mechanistically, we identified an enhancer region within the Rab27a gene that recruits SMC3, and modulates Rab27a expression.</jats:p> </jats:sec>jats:sec jats:titleConclusion</jats:title> jats:pOverall, we dissected a mechanism that regulates Rab27a expression during PDAC progression and impacts disease prognosis.</jats:p> </jats:sec>


Acknowledgements: The authors acknowledge Dr. Bruno Gonçalves, Centro Hospitalar Tondela-Viseu, Viseu, Portugal and Dr. Christoph Kahlert, Carl Gustav Carus University Hospital, Dresden, Germany for providing the human samples used in this study, Professor Miguel Seabra for providing the Ashen model, Professor Jonas Larsson, Lund University, Lund, Sweden for providing the shSMC3 plasmid and the support of the Animal Facility, Cell Culture and Genotyping, Histology and Electron Microscopy i3S Scientific Platforms.

32 Biomedical and Clinical Sciences, 3211 Oncology and Carcinogenesis, Digestive Diseases, Genetics, Pancreatic Cancer, Clinical Research, Rare Diseases, Cancer, 2 Aetiology, 2.1 Biological and endogenous factors, Cancer
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Journal of Translational Medicine
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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (2022.02284.PTDC)
Sociedade Portuguesa de Gastrenterologia (01/2021)
European Regional Development Fund (NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-072678)