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    Aberrant expression of HOXC6 and HOXC4 is commonly detected in prostate cancer. The high expression of these transcription factors is associated with aggressive prostate cancer and can predict cancer recurrence after treatment. Thus, HOXC4 and HOXC6 are clinically relevant biomarkers of aggressive prostate cancer. However, the molecular mechanisms by which these HOXC genes contribute to prostate cancer is not yet understood. To begin to address the role of HOXC4 and HOXC6 in prostate cancer, we performed RNA-seq analyses before and after siRNA-mediated knockdown of HOXC4 and/or HOXC6 and also performed ChIP-seq to identify genomic binding sites for both of these transcription factors. Our studies demonstrate that HOXC4 and HOXC6 co-localize with HOXB13, FOXA1 and AR, three transcription factors previously shown to contribute to the development of prostate cancer. We suggest that the aberrantly upregulated HOXC4 and HOXC6 proteins may compete with HOXB13 for binding sites, thus altering the prostate transcriptome. This competition model may be applicable to many different human cancers that display increased expression of a HOX transcription factor.


    Zhifei Luo, Peggy J Farnham. Genome-wide analysis of HOXC4 and HOXC6 regulated genes and binding sites in prostate cancer cells. PloS one. 2020;15(2):e0228590

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    PMID: 32012197

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