The Histone Demethylase KDM3A, Increased in Human Pancreatic Tumors, Regulates Expression of DCLK1 and Promotes Tumorigenesis in Mice

Academic Article


  • Background & Aims: The histone lysine demethylase 3A (KDM3A) demethylates H3K9me1 and H3K9Me2 to increase gene transcription and is upregulated in tumors, including pancreatic tumors. We investigated its activities in pancreatic cancer cell lines and its regulation of the gene encoding doublecortin calmodulin-like kinase 1 (DCLK1), a marker of cancer stem cells. Methods: We knocked down KDM3A in MiaPaCa-2 and S2-007 pancreatic cancer cell lines and overexpressed KDM3A in HPNE cells (human noncancerous pancreatic ductal cell line); we evaluated cell migration, invasion, and spheroid formation under hypoxic and normoxic conditions. Nude mice were given orthotopic injections of S2-007 cells, with or without (control) knockdown of KDM3A, and HPNE cells, with or without (control) overexpression of KDM3A; tumor growth was assessed. We analyzed pancreatic tumor tissues from mice and pancreatic cancer cell lines by immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. We performed RNA-sequencing analysis of MiaPaCa-2 and S2–007 cells with knockdown of KDM3A and evaluated localization of DCLK1 and KDM3A by immunofluorescence. We analyzed the cancer genome atlas for levels of KDM3A and DCLK1 messenger RNA in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) tissues and association with patient survival time. Results: Levels of KDM3A were increased in human pancreatic tumor tissues and cell lines, compared with adjacent nontumor pancreatic tissues, such as islet and acinar cells. Knockdown of KDM3A in S2-007 cells significantly reduced colony formation, invasion, migration, and spheroid formation, compared with control cells, and slowed growth of orthotopic tumors in mice. We identified KDM3A-binding sites in the DCLK1 promoter; S2-007 cells with knockdown of KDM3A had reduced levels of DCLK1. HPNE cells that overexpressed KDM3A formed foci and spheres in culture and formed tumors and metastases in mice, whereas control HPNE cells did not. Hypoxia induced sphere formation and increased levels of KDM3A in S2-007 cells and in HPNE cells that overexpressed DCLK1, but not control HPNE cells. Levels of KDM3A and DCLK1 messenger RNA were higher in human PDAC than nontumor pancreatic tissues and correlated with shorter survival times of patients. Conclusions: We found human PDAC samples and pancreatic cancer cell lines to overexpress KDM3A. KDM3A increases expression of DCLK1, and levels of both proteins are increased in human PDAC samples. Knockdown of KDM3A in pancreatic cancer cell lines reduced their invasive and sphere-forming activities in culture and formation of orthotopic tumors in mice. Hypoxia increased expression of KDM3A in pancreatic cancer cells. Strategies to disrupt this pathway might be developed for treatment of pancreatic cancer.
  • Published In

  • Gastroenterology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dandawate P; Ghosh C; Palaniyandi K; Paul S; Rawal S; Pradhan R; Sayed AAA; Choudhury S; Standing D; Subramaniam D
  • Start Page

  • 1646
  • End Page

  • 1659.e11
  • Volume

  • 157
  • Issue

  • 6