Structural disruption of BAF chromatin remodeller impairs neuroblastoma metastasis by reverting an invasiveness epigenomic program



Abstract Background Epigenetic programming during development is essential for determining cell lineages, and alterations in this programming contribute to the initiation of embryonal tumour development. In neuroblastoma, neural crest progenitors block their course of natural differentiation into sympathoadrenergic cells, leading to the development of aggressive and metastatic paediatric cancer. Research of the epigenetic regulators responsible for oncogenic epigenomic networks is crucial for developing new epigenetic-based therapies against these tumours. Mammalian switch/sucrose non-fermenting (mSWI/SNF) ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling complexes act genome-wide translating epigenetic signals into open chromatin states. The present study aimed to understand the contribution of mSWI/SNF to the oncogenic epigenomes of neuroblastoma and its potential as a therapeutic target. Methods Functional characterisation of the mSWI/SNF complexes was performed in neuroblastoma cells using proteomic approaches, loss-of-function experiments, transcriptome and chromatin accessibility analyses, and in vitro and in vivo assays. Results Neuroblastoma cells contain three main mSWI/SNF subtypes, but only BRG1-associated factor (BAF) complex disruption through silencing of its key structural subunits, ARID1A and ARID1B, impairs cell proliferation by promoting cell cycle blockade. Genome-wide chromatin remodelling and transcriptomic analyses revealed that BAF disruption results in the epigenetic repression of an extensive invasiveness-related expression program involving integrins, cadherins, and key mesenchymal regulators, thereby reducing adhesion to the extracellular matrix and the subsequent invasion in vitro and drastically inhibiting the initiation and growth of neuroblastoma metastasis in vivo. Conclusions We report a novel ATPase-independent role for the BAF complex in maintaining an epigenomic program that allows neuroblastoma invasiveness and metastasis, urging for the development of new BAF pharmacological structural disruptors for therapeutic exploitation in metastatic neuroblastoma.
Date made available4 Sept 2022

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