Malignant gliomas constitute one of the most significant areas of unmet medical need, owing to the invariable failure of surgical eradication and their marked molecular heterogeneity. Accumulating evidence has revealed a critical contribution by the Polycomb axis of epigenetic repression. However, a coherent understanding of the regulatory networks affected by Polycomb during gliomagenesis is still lacking. Here we integrate transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses to define Polycomb-dependent networks that promote gliomagenesis, validating them both in two independent mouse models and in a large cohort of human samples. We find that Polycomb dysregulation in gliomagenesis affects transcriptional networks associated with invasiveness and de-differentiation. The dissection of these networks uncovers Zfp423 as a critical Polycomb-dependent transcription factor whose silencing negatively impacts survival. The anti-gliomagenic activity of Zfp423 requires interaction with the SMAD proteins within the BMP signalling pathway, pointing to a novel synergic circuit through which Polycomb inhibits BMP signalling.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)