Khaldoun Rifaï et al.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed malignancy in women worldwide. It is well established that the complexity of carcinogenesis involves profound epigenetic deregulations that contribute to the tumorigenesis process. Deregulated H3 and H4 acetylated histone marks are amongst those alterations. Sirtuin-1 (SIRT1) is a class-III histone deacetylase deeply involved in apoptosis, genomic stability, gene expression regulation and breast tumorigenesis. However, the underlying molecular mechanism by which SIRT1 regulates H3 and H4 acetylated marks, and consequently cancer-related gene expression in breast cancer, remains uncharacterized. In this study, we elucidated SIRT1 epigenetic role and analyzed the link between the latter and histones H3 and H4 epigenetic marks in all 5 molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Using a cohort of 135 human breast tumors and their matched normal tissues, as well as 5 human-derived cell lines, we identified H3k4ac as a new prime target of SIRT1 in breast cancer. We also uncovered an inverse correlation between SIRT1 and the 3 epigenetic marks H3k4ac, H3k9ac and H4k16ac expression patterns. We showed that SIRT1 modulates the acetylation patterns of histones H3 and H4 in breast cancer. Moreover, SIRT1 regulates its H3 acetylated targets in a subtype-specific manner. Furthermore, SIRT1 siRNA-mediated knockdown increases histone acetylation levels at 6 breast cancer-related gene promoters: AR, BRCA1, ERS1, ERS2, EZH2 and EP300. In summary, this report characterizes for the first time the epigenetic behavior of SIRT1 in human breast carcinoma. These novel findings point to a potential use of SIRT1 as an epigenetic therapeutic target in breast cancer.