Journal article Open Access

CHAF1A Blocks Neuronal Differentiation and Promotes Neuroblastoma Oncogenesis via Metabolic Reprogramming

Ling Tao; Myrthala Moreno-Smith; Rodrigo Ibarra-García-Padilla; Giorgio Milazzo; Nathan A. Drolet; Blanca E. Hernandez; Young S. Oh; Ivanshi Patel; Jean J. Kim; Barry Zorman; Tajhal Patel; Abu Hena Mostafa Kamal; Yanling Zhao; John Hicks; Sanjeev A. Vasudevan; Nagireddy Putluri; Cristian Coarfa; Pavel Sumazin; Giovanni Perini; Ronald J. Parchem; Rosa A. Uribe; Eveline Barbieri

Neuroblastoma (NB) arises from oncogenic disruption of neural crest (NC) differentiation. Treatment with retinoic acid (RA) to induce differentiation has improved survival in some NB patients, but not all patients respond, and most NBs eventually develop resistance to RA. Loss of the chromatin modifier chromatin assembly factor 1 subunit p150 (CHAF1A) promotes NB cell differentiation; however, the mechanism by which CHAF1A drives NB oncogenesis has remained unexplored. This study shows that CHAF1A gain-of-function supports cell malignancy, blocks neuronal differentiation in three models (zebrafish NC, human NC, and human NB), and promotes NB oncogenesis. Mechanistically, CHAF1A upregulates polyamine metabolism, which blocks neuronal differentiation and promotes cell cycle progression. Targeting polyamine synthesis promotes NB differentiation and enhances the anti-tumor activity of RA. The authors' results provide insight into the mechanisms that drive NB oncogenesis and suggest a rapidly translatable therapeutic approach (DFMO plus RA) to enhance the clinical efficacy of differentiation therapy in NB patients.

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