ZNF750 is a lineage-specific tumour suppressor in squamous cell carcinoma

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Abstract

ZNF750 controls epithelial homeostasis by regulating epidermal-differentiation genes, a role underscored by its pathogenic mutations in esophageal squamous cell cancers (SCCs). However, the precise role of ZNF750 in SCC cell biology remains unclear. In this study, we report that ZNF750 is exclusively deleted, mutated and underexpressed in human SCCs, and low ZNF750 expression is associated with poor survival. Restoration of wildtype, but not mutant ZNF750 protein uniquely inhibited the malignant phenotypes of SCC cells both in vitro and in vivo. Notably, ZNF750 promoted the expression of a long non-coding RNA (TINCR), which mediated both cancer-inhibition and differentiation-induction effects of ZNF750. In addition, ZNF750 potently suppressed cell migration by directly inhibiting the transactivation of LAMC2. Together, our findings characterize ZNF750 as a crucial SCC-specific suppressor and uncover its novel anticancer-associated functions.

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