Wade MA, Jones D, Wilson L, Stockley J, Coffey K, Robson CN, Gaughan L
Endocrine therapy has successfully been used to treat estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer, but this invariably fails with cancers becoming refractory to treatment. Emerging evidence has suggested that fluctuations in ER co-regulatory protein expression may facilitate resistance to therapy and be involved in breast cancer progression. To date, a small number of enzymes that control methylation status of histones have been identified as co-regulators of ER signalling. We have identified the histone H3 lysine 9 mono- and di-methyl demethylase enzyme KDM3A as a positive regulator of ER activity. Here, we demonstrate that depletion of KDM3A by RNAi abrogates the recruitment of the ER to cis-regulatory elements within target gene promoters, thereby inhibiting estrogen-induced gene expression changes. Global gene expression analysis of KDM3A-depleted cells identified gene clusters associated with cell growth. Consistent with this, we show that knockdown of KDM3A reduces ER-positive cell proliferation and demonstrate that KDM3A is required for growth in a model of endocrine therapy-resistant disease. Crucially, we show that KDM3A catalytic activity is required for both ER-target gene expression and cell growth, demonstrating that developing compounds which target demethylase enzymatic activity may be efficacious in treating both ER-positive and endocrine therapy-resistant disease.