ZNF521 is a transcription co-factor with recognized regulatory functions in haematopoietic, osteo-adipogenic and neural progenitor cells. Among its diverse activities, ZNF521 has been implicated in the regulation of medulloblastoma (MB) cells, where the Hedgehog (HH) pathway, has a key role in the development of normal cerebellum and of a substantial fraction of MBs. Here a functional cross-talk is shown for ZNF521 with the HH pathway, where it interacts with GLI1 and GLI2, the major HH transcriptional effectors and enhances the activity of HH signalling. In particular, ZNF521 cooperates with GLI1 and GLI2 in the transcriptional activation of GLI (glioma-associated transcription factor)-responsive promoters. This synergism is dependent on the presence of the N-terminal, NuRD-binding motif in ZNF521, and is sensitive to HDAC (histone deacetylase) and GLI inhibitors. Taken together, these results highlight the role of ZNF521, and its interaction with the NuRD complex, in determining the HH response at the level of transcription. This may be of particular relevance in HH-driven diseases, especially regarding the MBs belonging to the SHH (sonic HH) subgroup where a high expression of ZNF521 is correlated with that of HH pathway components.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research