EZH1/2 inhibitors favor ILC3 development from human HSPC-CD34+ cells

Laura Damele, Adriana Amaro, Alberto Serio, Silvia Luchetti, Ulrich Pfeffer, Maria Cristina Mingari, Chiara Vitale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dysregulation of epigenetic modifications has a well-established role in the development and progression of hematological malignancies and of solid tumors. In this context, EZH1/2 inhibitors have been designed to interfere with EZH1/2 enzymes involved in histone methylation (e.g., H3K27me3), leading to tumor growth arrest or the restoration of tumor suppressor gene transcription. However, these compounds also affect normal hematopoiesis, interfering with self-renewal and differentiation of CD34+-Hematopoietic Stem/Progenitor Cells (HSPC), and, in turn, could modulate the generation of potential anti-tumor effector lymphocytes. Given the important role of NK cells in the immune surveillance of tumors, it would be useful to understand whether epigenetic drugs can modulate NK cell differentiation and functional maturation. CD34+-HSPC were cultured in the absence or in the presence of the EZH1/2 inhibitor UNC1999 and EZH2 inhibitor GSK126. Our results show that UNC1999 and GSK126 increased CD56+ cell proliferation compared to the control condition. However, UNC1999 and GSK 126 favored the proliferation of no-cytotoxic CD56+ILC3, according to the early expression of the AHR and ROR- t transcription factors. Our results describe novel epigenetic mechanisms involved in the modulation of NK cell maturation that may provide new tools for designing NK cell-based immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319
Number of pages20
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2 2021


  • Innate defenses against tumors
  • Innate lymphoid cells (ILCS)
  • NK cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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