MITF expression predicts therapeutic vulnerability to p300 inhibition in human melanoma

Edward Kim, Beth E. Zucconi, Muzhou Wu, Sarah E. Nocco, David J Meyers, Jean S. McGee, Samantha Venkatesh, Daniel L. Cohen, Estela C. Gonzalez, Byungwoo Ryu, Philip A. Cole, Rhoda M. Alani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Histone modifications, largely regulated by histone acetyltransferases (HAT) and histone deacetylases, have been recognized as major regulatory mechanisms governing human diseases, including cancer. Despite significant effort and recent advances, the mechanism by which the HAT and transcriptional coactivator p300 mediates tumorigenesis remains unclear. Here, we use a genetic and chemical approach to identify the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) as a critical downstream target of p300 driving human melanoma growth. Direct transcriptional control of MITF by p300-dependent histone acetylation within proximal gene regulatory regions was coupled to cellular proliferation, suggesting a significant growth regulatory axis. Further analysis revealed forkhead box M1 (FOXM1) as a key effector of the p300-MITF axis driving cell growth that is selectively activated in human melanomas. Targeted chemical inhibition of p300 acetyltransferase activity using a potent and selective catalytic p300/CBP inhibitor demonstrated significant growth inhibitory effects in melanoma cells expressing high levels of MITF. Collectively, these data confirm the critical role of the p300-MITF-FOXM1 axis in melanoma and support p300 as a promising novel epigenetic therapeutic target in human melanoma. Significance: These results show that MITF is a major downstream target of p300 in human melanoma whose expression is predictive of melanoma response to smallmolecule inhibition of p300 HAT activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2649-2661
Number of pages13
JournalCancer Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'MITF expression predicts therapeutic vulnerability to p300 inhibition in human melanoma'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this