Histone demethylase KDM4C controls tumorigenesis of glioblastoma by epigenetically regulating p53 and c-Myc

Dong Hoon Lee, Go Woon Kim, Jung Yoo, Sang Wu Lee, Yu Hyun Jeon, So Yeon Kim, Hyeok Gu Kang, Da Hyun Kim, Kyung Hee Chun, Junjeong Choi, So Hee Kwon

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12 Citations (Scopus)


Glioblastoma is the most lethal brain tumor and its pathogenesis remains incompletely understood. KDM4C is a histone H3K9 demethylase that contributes to epigenetic regulation of both oncogene and tumor suppressor genes and is often overexpressed in human tumors, including glioblastoma. However, KDM4C’s roles in glioblastoma and the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Here, we show that KDM4C knockdown significantly represses proliferation and tumorigenesis of glioblastoma cells in vitro and in vivo that are rescued by overexpressing wild-type KDM4C but not a catalytic dead mutant. KDM4C protein expression is upregulated in glioblastoma, and its expression correlates with c-Myc expression. KDM4C also binds to the c-Myc promoter and induces c-Myc expression. Importantly, KDM4C suppresses the pro-apoptotic functions of p53 by demethylating p53K372me1, which is pivotal for the stability of chromatin-bound p53. Conversely, depletion or inhibition of KDM4C promotes p53 target gene expression and induces apoptosis in glioblastoma. KDM4C may serve as an oncogene through the dual functions of inactivation of p53 and activation of c-Myc in glioblastoma. Our study demonstrates KDM4C inhibition as a promising therapeutic strategy for targeting glioblastoma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number89
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jan

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology (2018R1A6A1A03023718, 2019R1A2C1008619, and 2019R1I1A1A01058601).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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