Multiple myeloma (MM) is a hematologic malignancy produced by a clonal expansion of plasma cells and characterized by abnormal production and secretion of monoclonal antibodies. This pathology exhibits an enormous heterogeneity resulting not only from genetic alterations but also from several epigenetic dysregulations. Here we provide evidence that Che-1/AATF (Che-1), an interactor of RNA polymerase II, promotes MM proliferation by affecting chromatin structure and sustaining global gene expression. We found that Che-1 depletion leads to a reduction of “active chromatin” by inducing a global decrease of histone acetylation. In this context, Che-1 directly interacts with histones and displaces histone deacetylase class I members from them. Strikingly, transgenic mice expressing human Che-1 in plasma cells develop MM with clinical features resembling those observed in the human disease. Finally, Che-1 downregulation decreases BRD4 chromatin accumulation to further sensitize MM cells to bromodomain and external domain inhibitors. These findings identify Che-1 as a promising target for MM therapy, alone or in combination with bromodomain and external domain inhibitors.
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