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Nkx2-1 represses a latent gastric differentiation program in lung adenocarcinoma.


ABSTRACT: Tissue-specific differentiation programs become dysregulated during cancer evolution. The transcription factor Nkx2-1 is a master regulator of pulmonary differentiation that is downregulated in poorly differentiated lung adenocarcinoma. Here we use conditional murine genetics to determine how the identity of lung epithelial cells changes upon loss of their master cell-fate regulator. Nkx2-1 deletion in normal and neoplastic lungs causes not only loss of pulmonary identity but also conversion to a gastric lineage. Nkx2-1 is likely to maintain pulmonary identity by recruiting transcription factors Foxa1 and Foxa2 to lung-specific loci, thus preventing them from binding gastrointestinal targets. Nkx2-1-negative murine lung tumors mimic mucinous human lung adenocarcinomas, which express gastric markers. Loss of the gastrointestinal transcription factor Hnf4? leads to derepression of the embryonal proto-oncogene Hmga2 in Nkx2-1-negative tumors. These observations suggest that loss of both active and latent differentiation programs is required for tumors to reach a primitive, poorly differentiated state.

SUBMITTER: Snyder EL 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3721642 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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