Stimulation of β-catenin and colon cancer cell growth by the KDM4B histone demethylase

Int J Oncol. 2014 Apr;44(4):1341-8. doi: 10.3892/ijo.2014.2279. Epub 2014 Jan 27.


The linchpin of colorectal cancer is the oncoprotein and transcriptional cofactor β-catenin, whose overexpression is causative for the neoplastic transformation of colon cells. However, the molecular details of β-catenin dependent gene transcription in cancer cells are still not comprehensively explored. Here, we show that the histone demethylase KDM4B was upregulated in colon and rectal adenocarcinomas and required for efficient growth and clonogenic activity of human HT-29 colon cancer cells. Moreover, KDM4B formed complexes with β-catenin in vitro and in vivo, which involved its central amino acids 353-740. In addition, KDM4B also interacted with the DNA-binding protein TCF4, which is the main factor recruiting β-catenin to chromatin in the intestine. KDM4B downregulation resulted in reduced expression of the β-catenin/TCF4 target genes JUN, MYC and Cyclin D1, all of which encode for oncoproteins. Collectively, our data indicate that KDM4B overexpression supports β-catenin mediated gene transcription and thereby contributes to the genesis of colorectal tumors. Accordingly, inhibition of the KDM4B histone demethylase may represent a novel avenue of fighting colorectal cancer, one of the major causes of cancer death throughout the world.

MeSH terms

  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cyclin D1 / biosynthesis
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • HT29 Cells
  • Humans
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / biosynthesis
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / genetics*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4 / biosynthesis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc / biosynthesis
  • RNA Interference
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transcription Factor 4
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • beta Catenin / biosynthesis
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • CCND1 protein, human
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • MYC protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-myc
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • TCF4 protein, human
  • Transcription Factor 4
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta Catenin
  • Cyclin D1
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • KDM4B protein, human
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4