SWI/SNF Chromatin-Remodeling Factor Smarcd3/Baf60c Controls Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition by Inducing Wnt5a Signaling


We previously identified a gene signature predicted to regulate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition(EMT)in both epithelial tissue stem cells and breast cancer cells. A phenotypic RNA interference (RNAi) screen identified the genes within this 140-gene signature that promoted the conversion of mesenchymal epithelial cell adhesion molecule-negative(EpCAM-)breast cancer cells to an epithelial EpCAM+/highphenotype. The screen identified 10 of the 140 genes whose individual knockdown was sufficient to promote EpCAM and E-cadherin expression. Among these 10 genes, RNAi silencing of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling factor Smarcd3/Baf60c in EpCAM-breast cancer cells gave the most robust transition from the mesenchymal to epithelial phenotype. Conversely, expression of Smarcd3/Baf60c in immortalized human mammary epithelial cells induced an EMT. The mesenchymal-like phenotype promoted by Smarcd3/Baf60c expression resulted in gene expression changes in human mammary epithelial cells similar to that of claudin-low triple-negative breast cancer cells. These mammary epithelial cells expressing Smarcd3/Baf60c had upregulated Wnt5a expression. Inhibition of Wnt5a by either RNAi knockdown or blocking antibody reversed Smarcd3/Baf60c-induced EMT. Thus, Smarcd3/Baf60c epigenetically regulates EMT by activating WNT signaling pathways. © 2013, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.

Publication Title

Molecular and Cellular Biology