The Chromatin Remodeling ComponentArid1aIs a Suppressor of Spontaneous Mammary Tumors in Mice

Kartha, N and Shen, L and Maskin, C and Wallace, M D and Schimenti, J C (2016) The Chromatin Remodeling ComponentArid1aIs a Suppressor of Spontaneous Mammary Tumors in Mice. Genetics, 203 (4). pp. 1601-1611. ISSN 0016-6731

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Human cancer genome studies have identified the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex member ARID1A as one of the most frequently altered genes in several tumor types. Its role as an ovarian tumor suppressor has been supported in compound knockout mice. Here, we provide genetic and functional evidence that Arid1a is a bona fide mammary tumor suppressor, using the Chromosome aberrations occurring spontaneously 3 (Chaos3) mouse model of sporadic breast cancer. About 70% of mammary tumors that formed in these mice contained a spontaneous deletion removing all or part of one Arid1a allele. Restoration of Arid1a expression in a Chaos3 mammary tumor line with low Arid1a levels greatly impaired its ability to form tumors following injection into cleared mammary glands, indicating that ARID1A insufficiency is crucial for maintenance of these Trp53-proficient tumors. Transcriptome analysis of tumor cells before and after reintroduction of Arid1a expression revealed alterations in growth signaling and cell-cycle checkpoint pathways, in particular the activation of the TRP53 pathway. Consistent with the latter, Arid1a reexpression in tumor cells led to increased p21 (Cdkn1a) expression and dramatic accumulation of cells in G2 phase of the cell cycle. These results not only provide in vivo evidence for a tumor suppressive and/or maintenance role in breast cancer, but also indicate a potential opportunity for therapeutic intervention in ARID1A-deficient human breast cancer subtypes that retain one intact copy of the gene and also maintain wild-type TRP53 activity.

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