Epigenetic inactivation of the 5-methylcytosine RNA methyltransferase NSUN7 is associated with clinical outcome and therapeutic vulnerability in liver cancer

Ortiz-Barahona, Vanessa and Soler, Marta and Davalos, Veronica and García-Prieto, Carlos A. and Janin, Maxime and Setien, Fernando and Fernández-Rebollo, Irene and Bech-Serra, Joan J. and De La Torre, Carolina and Guil, Sonia and Villanueva, Alberto and Zhang, Pei-Hong and Yang, Li and Guarnacci, Marco and Schumann, Ulrike and Preiss, Thomas and Balaseviciute, Ugne and Montal, Robert and Llovet, Josep M. and Esteller, Manel (2023) Epigenetic inactivation of the 5-methylcytosine RNA methyltransferase NSUN7 is associated with clinical outcome and therapeutic vulnerability in liver cancer. Molecular Cancer, 22 (1). ISSN 1476-4598

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Link to published document: http://doi.org/10.1186/s12943-023-01785-z


BACKGROUND: RNA modifications are important regulators of transcript activity and an increasingly emerging body of data suggests that the epitranscriptome and its associated enzymes are altered in human tumors. METHODS: Combining data mining and conventional experimental procedures, NSUN7 methylation and expression status was assessed in liver cancer cell lines and primary tumors. Loss-of-function and transfection-mediated recovery experiments coupled with RNA bisulfite sequencing and proteomics determined the activity of NSUN7 in downstream targets and drug sensitivity. RESULTS: In this study, the initial screening for genetic and epigenetic defects of 5-methylcytosine RNA methyltransferases in transformed cell lines, identified that the NOL1/NOP2/Sun domain family member 7 (NSUN7) undergoes promoter CpG island hypermethylation-associated with transcriptional silencing in a cancer-specific manner. NSUN7 epigenetic inactivation was common in liver malignant cells and we coupled bisulfite conversion of cellular RNA with next-generation sequencing (bsRNA-seq) to find the RNA targets of this poorly characterized putative RNA methyltransferase. Using knock-out and restoration-of-function models, we observed that the mRNA of the coiled-coil domain containing 9B (CCDC9B) gene required NSUN7-mediated methylation for transcript stability. Most importantly, proteomic analyses determined that CCDC9B loss impaired protein levels of its partner, the MYC-regulator Influenza Virus NS1A Binding Protein (IVNS1ABP), creating sensitivity to bromodomain inhibitors in liver cancer cells exhibiting NSUN7 epigenetic silencing. The DNA methylation-associated loss of NSUN7 was also observed in primary liver tumors where it was associated with poor overall survival. Interestingly, NSUN7 unmethylated status was enriched in the immune active subclass of liver tumors. CONCLUSION: The 5-methylcytosine RNA methyltransferase NSUN7 undergoes epigenetic inactivation in liver cancer that prevents correct mRNA methylation. Furthermore, NSUN7 DNA methylation-associated silencing is associated with clinical outcome and distinct therapeutic vulnerability.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2023 04:11
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2023 05:07
URI: http://eprints.victorchang.edu.au/id/eprint/1416

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