The NANOG transcription factor induces type 2 deiodinase expression and regulates the intracellular activation of thyroid hormone in keratinocyte carcinomas

Annarita Nappi, Emery Di Cicco, Caterina Miro, Annunziata Gaetana Cicatiello, Serena Sagliocchi, Giuseppina Mancino, Raffaele Ambrosio, Cristina Luongo, Daniela Di Girolamo, Maria Angela De Stefano, Tommaso Porcelli, Mariano Stornaiuolo, Monica Dentice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Type 2 deiodinase (D2), the principal activator of thyroid hormone (TH) signaling in target tissues, is expressed in cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) during late tumorigenesis, and its repression attenuates the invasiveness and metastatic spread of SCC. Although D2 plays multiple roles in cancer progression, nothing is known about the mechanisms regulating D2 in cancer. To address this issue, we investigated putative upstream regulators of D2 in keratinocyte carcinomas. We found that the expression of D2 in SCC cells is positively regulated by the NANOG transcription factor, whose expression, besides being causally linked to embryonic stemness, is associated with many human cancers. We also found that NANOG binds to the D2 promoter and enhances D2 transcription. Notably, blockage of D2 activity reduced NANOG-induced cell migration as well as the expression of key genes involved in epithelial–mesenchymal transition in SCC cells. In conclusion, our study reveals a link among endogenous endocrine regulators of cancer, thyroid hormone and its activating enzyme, and the NANOG regulator of cancer biology. These findings could provide the basis for the development of TH inhibitors as context-dependent anti-tumor agents.

Original languageEnglish
Article number715
JournalCancers
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

Keywords

  • Deiodinases
  • Skin cancer
  • Thyroid hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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