New Publication: A Druggable UHRF1/DNMT1/GLI Complex Regulates Sonic Hedgehog–Dependent Tumor Growth 

Posted in Cancer Cell Biology Program News

New Publication by David J. Robbins, Nagi G. Ayad, et al.

Dysregulation of Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling drives the growth of distinct cancer subtypes, including medulloblastoma (MB). Such cancers have been treated in the clinic with a number of clinically relevant SHH inhibitors, the majority of which target the upstream SHH regulator, Smoothened (SMO). Despite considerable efficacy, many of these patients develop resistance to these drugs, primarily due to mutations in SMO. Therefore, it is essential to identify druggable, signaling components downstream of SMO to target in SMO inhibitor resistant cancers. We utilized an integrated functional genomics approach to identify epigenetic regulators of SHH signaling and identified a novel complex of Ubiquitin-like with PHD and RING finger domains 1 (UHRF1), DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), and GLI proteins. We show that this complex is distinct from previously described UHRF1/DNMT1 complexes, suggesting that it works in concert to regulate GLI activity in SHH driven tumors. Importantly, we show that UHRF1/DNMT1/GLI complex stability is targeted by a repurposed FDA-approved therapy, with a subsequent reduction in the growth of SHH-dependent MB ex vivo and in vivo.

Mol Cancer Res (2022) 20 (11): 1598–1610.