Multifaceted Role of PRDM Proteins in Human Cancer

Amelia Casamassimi, Monica Rienzo, Erika Di Zazzo, Anna Sorrentino, Donatella Fiore, Maria Chiara Proto, Bruno Moncharmont, Patrizia Gazzerro, Maurizio Bifulco, Ciro Abbondanza
International Journal of Molecular Sciences 2020 April 10, 21 (7)
The PR/SET domain family (PRDM) comprise a family of genes whose protein products share a conserved N-terminal PR [PRDI-BF1 (positive regulatory domain I-binding factor 1) and RIZ1 (retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1)] homologous domain structurally and functionally similar to the catalytic SET [Su(var)3-9, enhancer-of-zeste and trithorax] domain of histone methyltransferases (HMTs). These genes are involved in epigenetic regulation of gene expression through their intrinsic HMTase activity or via interactions with other chromatin modifying enzymes. In this way they control a broad spectrum of biological processes, including proliferation and differentiation control, cell cycle progression, and maintenance of immune cell homeostasis. In cancer, tumor-specific dysfunctions of PRDM genes alter their expression by genetic and/or epigenetic modifications. A common characteristic of most PRDM genes is to encode for two main molecular variants with or without the PR domain. They are generated by either alternative splicing or alternative use of different promoters and play opposite roles, particularly in cancer where their imbalance can be often observed. In this scenario, PRDM proteins are involved in cancer onset, invasion, and metastasis and their altered expression is related to poor prognosis and clinical outcome. These functions strongly suggest their potential use in cancer management as diagnostic or prognostic tools and as new targets of therapeutic intervention.

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