Regulation of tumor suppressor p53 and HCT116 cell physiology by histone demethylase JMJD2D/KDM4D

PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34618. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034618. Epub 2012 Apr 13.


JMJD2D, also known as KDM4D, is a histone demethylase that removes methyl moieties from lysine 9 on histone 3 and from lysine 26 on histone 1.4. Here, we demonstrate that JMJD2D forms a complex with the p53 tumor suppressor in vivo and interacts with the DNA binding domain of p53 in vitro. A luciferase reporter plasmid driven by the promoter of p21, a cell cycle inhibitor and prominent target gene of p53, was synergistically activated by p53 and JMJD2D, which was dependent on JMJD2D catalytic activity. Likewise, overexpression of JMJD2D induced p21 expression in U2OS osteosarcoma cells in the absence and presence of adriamycin, an agent that induces DNA damage. Furthermore, downregulation of JMJD2D inhibited cell proliferation in wild-type and even more so in p53(-/-) HCT116 colon cancer cells, suggesting that JMJD2D is a pro-proliferative molecule. JMJD2D depletion also induced more strongly apoptosis in p53(-/-) compared to wild-type HCT116 cells. Collectively, our results demonstrate that JMJD2D can stimulate cell proliferation and survival, suggesting that its inhibition may be helpful in the fight against cancer. Furthermore, our data imply that activation of p53 may represent a mechanism by which the pro-oncogenic functions of JMJD2D become dampened.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Doxorubicin / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • HCT116 Cells
  • Humans
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / genetics
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / metabolism*
  • Osteosarcoma / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / genetics
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*


  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Doxorubicin
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • KDM4D protein, human