DNA replication and repair proteins play an important role in cancer initiation and progression by affecting genomic instability. The DNA endonuclease Mus81 is a DNA structure-specific endonuclease, which has been implicated in DNA replication and repair. In this study, we found that Mus81 promotes gastric metastasis by controlling the transcription of ZEB1, a master regulator of the epithelial- mesenchymal transition (EMT). Our results revealed that Mus81 is highly expressed in gastric cancer samples from patients and cell lines compared with their normal counterparts. Particularly, Mus81 expression positively correlated with ZEB1 expression and Mus81 overexpression was significantly associated with higher incidence of lymph node metastasis in patients. Furthermore, Mus81 promoted migration of gastric cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo. We conducted a drug screen using a collection of preclinical and FDA-approved drugs and found that the BRD4 inhibitor AZD5153 inhibited the expression of Mus81 and ZEB1 by regulating the epigenetic factor Sirt5. As expected, AZD5153 treatment significantly reduced the migration of gastric cancer cells overexpressing Mus81 in vitro and in vivo. Collectively, we show that Mus81 is a regulator of ZEB1 and promotes metastasis in gastric cancer. Importantly, we demonstrate that the BRD4 inhibitor AZD5153 can potentially be used as an effective antimetastasis drug because of its effect on Mus81.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research