TNRC9 downregulates BRCA1 expression and promotes breast cancer aggressiveness

Jingxuan Shan, Shoba P. DSouza, Sasha Bakhru, Eman K. Al-Azwani, Maria L. Ascierto, Seetharama S. Konduru, Shahinaz Bedri, Dhanya Kizhakayil, Idil I. Aigha, Joel Malek, Issam Al-Bozom, Salah Gehani, Stacia Furtado, Edith Mathiowitz, Ena Wang, Francesco M. Marincola, Lotfi Chouchane

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Although the linkage between germline mutations of BRCA1 and hereditary breast/ovarian cancers is well established, recent evidence suggests that altered expression of wild-type BRCA1 might contribute to the sporadic forms of breast cancer. The breast cancer gene trinucleotide-repeat-containing 9 (TNRC9; TOX3) has been associated with disease susceptibility but its function is undetermined. Here, we report that TNRC9 is often amplified and overexpressed in breast cancer, particularly in advanced breast cancer. Gene amplification was associated with reduced disease-free and metastasis-free survival rates. Ectopic expression of TNRC9 increased breast cancer cell proliferation, migration, and survival after exposure to apoptotic stimuli. These phenotypes were associated with tumor progression in a mouse model of breast cancer. Gene expression profiling, protein analysis, and in silico assays of large datasets of breast and ovarian cancer samples suggested that TNRC9 and BRCA1 expression were inversely correlated. Notably, we found that TNRC9 bound to both the BRCA1 promoter and the cAMP-responsive element-binding protein (CREB) complex, a regulator of BRCA1 transcription. In support of this connection, expression of TNRC9 downregulated expression of BRCA1 by altering the methylation status of its promoter. Our studies unveil a function for TNRC9 in breast cancer that highlights a new paradigm in BRCA1 regulation. Cancer Res; 73(9); 2840-9.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2840-2849
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Shan, J., DSouza, S. P., Bakhru, S., Al-Azwani, E. K., Ascierto, M. L., Konduru, S. S., Bedri, S., Kizhakayil, D., Aigha, I. I., Malek, J., Al-Bozom, I., Gehani, S., Furtado, S., Mathiowitz, E., Wang, E., Marincola, F. M., & Chouchane, L. (2013). TNRC9 downregulates BRCA1 expression and promotes breast cancer aggressiveness. Cancer Research, 73(9), 2840-2849.