Protein Acyltransferase DHHC3 Regulates Breast Tumor Growth, Oxidative Stress, and Senescence

Cancer Res. 2017 Dec 15;77(24):6880-6890. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1536. Epub 2017 Oct 20.


DHHC-type protein acyltransferases may regulate the localization, stability, and/or activity of their substrates. In this study, we show that the protein palmitoyltransferase DHHC3 is upregulated in malignant and metastatic human breast cancer. Elevated expression of DHHC3 correlated with diminished patient survival in breast cancer and six other human cancer types. ZDHHC3 ablation in human MDA-MB-231 mammary tumor cell xenografts reduced the sizes of both the primary tumor and metastatic lung colonies. Gene array data and fluorescence dye assays documented increased oxidative stress and senescence in ZDHHC3-ablated cells. ZDHHC3-ablated tumors also showed enhanced recruitment of innate immune cells (antitumor macrophages, natural killer cells) associated with clearance of senescent tumors. These antitumor effects were reversed upon reconstitution with wild-type, but not enzyme-active site-deficient DHHC3. Concomitant ablation of the upregulated oxidative stress protein TXNIP substantially negated the effects of ZDHHC3 depletion on oxidative stress and senescence. Diminished DHHC3-dependent palmitoylation of ERGIC3 protein likely played a key role in TXNIP upregulation. In conclusion, DHHC3-mediated protein palmitoylation supports breast tumor growth by modulating cellular oxidative stress and senescence. Cancer Res; 77(24); 6880-90. ©2017 AACR.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyltransferases / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics*
  • Cellular Senescence / genetics*
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / genetics
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Animal / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Mice, SCID
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics*


  • Acyltransferases
  • ZDHHC3 protein, human