The Polycomb Group Protein EZH2 Impairs DNA Damage Repair Gene Expression in Human Uterine Fibroids1

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Uterine fibroids are benign, smooth muscle tumors that occur in approximately 70%-80% of women by age 50 yr. The cellular and molecular mechanism(s) by which uterine fibroids (UFs) develop are not fully understood. Accumulating evidence demonstrates that several genetic abnormalities, including deletions, rearrangements, translocations, as well as mutations, have been found in UFs. These genetic anomalies suggest that low DNA damage repair capacity may be involved in UF formation. The objective of this study was to determine whether expression levels of DNA damage repair-related genes were altered, and how they were regulated in the pathogenesis of UFs. Expression levels of DNA repair-related genesRAD51andBRCA1were deregulated in fibroid tissues as compared to adjacent myometrial tissues. Expression levels of chromatin protein enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) were higher in a subset of fibroids as compared to adjacent myometrial tissues by both immunohistochemistry and Western blot analysis. Treatment with an inhibitor of EZH2 markedly increased expression levels ofRAD51andBRCA1in fibroid cells and inhibited cell proliferation paired with cell cycle arrest. Restoring the expression ofRAD51andBRCA1by treatment with EZH2 inhibitor was dependent on reducing the enrichment of trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27 epigenetic mark in their promoter regions. This study reveals the important role of EZH2-regulated DNA damage-repair genes via histone methylation in fibroid biology, and may provide novel therapeutic targets for the medical treatment of women with symptomatic UFs.

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