AZD9291 inactivates the PRC2 complex to mediate tumor growth inhibition

Authors: Kai-li Zhang1,2, Qian-qian Shen1, Yan-fen Fang1, Yi-ming Sun1, Jian Ding1, Yi Chen1
1 Division of Anti-Tumor Pharmacology, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
2 University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Correspondence to: Jian Ding:, Yi Chen:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-019-0248-2
Received: 6 March 2019
Accepted: 5 May 2019
Advance online: 6 June 2019


Deregulated Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) is intimately involved in tumorigenesis and progression, making it an invaluable target for epigenetic cancer therapy. Disrupting the EZH2–EED interaction, which is required for PRC2 enzymatic activity, is a promising strategy for cancer treatment. However, this kind of inhibitors are still limited. The in-cell protein–protein interaction screening was conducted for approximately 1300 compounds by NanoBRET technology. Co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP), protein thermal shift assay (PTSA), and cellular thermal shift assay (CETSA) were performed to investigate the regulation of PRC2 by AZD9291. The anti-tumor effects of AZD9291 on breast cancer (BC) cells and diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cells were detected. MicroRNA array assay, luciferase reporter assay, and qRT-PCR were conducted to identify the interaction and regulation among AZD9291, EZH2, and miR-34a. We discovered that, AZD9291, a potent and selective EGFR inhibitor, disrupted the interaction of EZH2–EED, leading to impairment of PRC2 activity and downregulation of EZH2 protein. In addition, AZD9291 declined EZH2 mRNA expression via upregulating the expression of a tumor suppressor, miR-34a. Our results suggest that AZD9291 can serve as a lead compound for further development of antagonist of PRC2 protein–protein interactions and EZH2 mRNA may be a direct target of miR-34a through non-canonical base pairing.
Keywords: PRC2; EZH2–EED; AZD9291; miR-34a; non-canonical base pairing

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