ROLE OF TET2 IN LUMINAL DIFFERENTIATION AND HORMONE THERAPY RESPONSE IN BREAST CANCER
Epigenetic mechanisms, including DNA methylation, play an important role in regulation of stem cell fate and tumorigenesis. The Ten-Eleven-Translocation 2 (TET2) is a core enzyme for DNA demethylation by catalyzing the conversion of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydromethylcytosine (5hmC). It has been shown that TET2 is the main regulator of hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis and loss of TET2 is highly associated with hematopoietic malignancies. Our previous work has also shown that loss of TET2 expression is linked to promotion of an epithelial-mesenchymal-transition phenotype and expansion of a breast cancer stem cell-like population with skewed asymmetric cell division in vitro; however, the in vivo role that TET2 plays in regulation of mammary stem cell (MaSC) fate and development of mammary pathology has yet to be determined. Here, using our newly established mammary-specific Tet2-knockout mouse model, the data reveals for the first time that TET2 plays a pivotal role in mammary gland development via directing MaSC to luminal lineage commitment in vivo. Furthermore, we find that TET2 coordinates with FOXP1 to target and demethylate FOXA1, GATA3, and ESR1, key transcription factors that orchestrate mammary luminal lineage specification and endocrine response and are often silenced by DNA methylation in aggressive human breast cancers. Finally, loss of TET2 expression leads to promotion of mammary tumor development with defective luminal cell differentiation and tamoxifen resistance in a PyMT;Tet2 deletion breast cancer mouse model. As a result, this study provides a previously unidentified role for TET2 in governing luminal lineage specification and endocrine response that underlies resistance to anti-estrogen treatments.