Tbx2 is overexpressed and plays an important role in maintaining proliferation and suppression of senescence in melanomas.
Vance KW., Carreira S., Brosch G., Goding CR.
The INK4a and ARF genes found at the CDKN2A locus are key effectors of cellular senescence that is believed to act as a powerful anticancer mechanism. Accordingly, mutations in these genes are present in a wide variety of spontaneous human cancers and CDKN2A germ line mutations are found in familial melanoma. The TBX2 gene encoding a key developmental transcription factor is amplified in pancreatic cancer cell lines and preferentially amplified and overexpressed in BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutated breast tumors. Overexpression of Tbx2 and the related factor Tbx3, which is also overexpressed in breast cancer and melanomas, can suppress senescence in defined experimental systems through repression of ARF expression. However, it is not known how Tbx2 mediates its repressive effect nor whether endogenous Tbx2 or Tbx3 perform a similar antisenescence function in transformed cells. This is a particularly important question because the loss of CDKN2A in many human cancers would, in principle, bypass the requirement for Tbx2/3-mediated repression of ARF in suppressing senescence. We show here that Tbx2 is overexpressed in melanoma cell lines and that Tbx2 targets histone deacetylase 1 to the p21Cip1 (CDKN1A) initiator. Strikingly, expression of an inducible dominant-negative Tbx2 (dnTbx2) leads to displacement of histone deacetylase 1, up-regulation of p21(Cip1) expression, and the induction of replicative senescence in CDKN2A-null B16 melanoma cells. In human melanoma cells, expression of dnTbx2 leads to severely reduced growth and induction of senescence-associated heterochromatin foci. The results suggest that the activity of endogenous Tbx2 is critically required to maintain proliferation and suppress senescence in melanomas.