The renal lineage factor PAX8 controls oncogenic signalling in kidney cancer

Saroor A Patel, Shoko Hirosue, Paulo Rodrigues, Erika Vojtasova, Emma K Richardson, Jianfeng Ge, Saiful E Syafruddin, Alyson Speed, Evangelia K Papachristou, David Baker, David Clarke, Stephenie Purvis, Ludovic Wesolowski, Anna Dyas, Leticia Castillon, Veronica Caraffini, Dóra Bihary, Cissy Yong, David J Harrison, Grant D StewartMitchell J Machiela, Mark P Purdue, Stephen J Chanock, Anne Y Warren, Shamith A Samarajiwa, Jason S Carroll, Sakari Vanharanta*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
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Large-scale human genetic data1,2,3 have shown that cancer mutations display strong tissue-selectivity, but how this selectivity arises remains unclear. Here, using experimental models, functional genomics and analyses of patient samples, we demonstrate that the lineage transcription factor paired box 8 (PAX8) is required for oncogenic signalling by two common genetic alterations that cause clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) in humans: the germline variant rs7948643 at 11q13.3 and somatic inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau tumour suppressor (VHL)4,5,6. VHL loss, which is observed in about 90% of ccRCCs, can lead to hypoxia-inducible factor 2α (HIF2A) stabilization6,7. We show that HIF2A is preferentially recruited to PAX8-bound transcriptional enhancers, including a pro-tumorigenic cyclin D1 (CCND1) enhancer that is controlled by PAX8 and HIF2A. The ccRCC-protective allele C at rs7948643 inhibits PAX8 binding at this enhancer and downstream activation of CCND1 expression. Co-option of a PAX8-dependent physiological programme that supports the proliferation of normal renal epithelial cells is also required for MYC expression from the ccRCC metastasis-associated amplicons at 8q21.3-q24.3 (ref. 8). These results demonstrate that transcriptional lineage factors are essential for oncogenic signalling and that they mediate tissue-specific cancer risk associated with somatic and inherited genetic variants.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Early online date8 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022


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