Gene Summary

Gene:IRF8; interferon regulatory factor 8
Summary:Interferon consensus sequence-binding protein (ICSBP) is a transcription factor of the interferon (IFN) regulatory factor (IRF) family. Proteins of this family are composed of a conserved DNA-binding domain in the N-terminal region and a divergent C-terminal region that serves as the regulatory domain. The IRF family proteins bind to the IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE) and regulate expression of genes stimulated by type I IFNs, namely IFN-alpha and IFN-beta. IRF family proteins also control expression of IFN-alpha and IFN-beta-regulated genes that are induced by viral infection. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:interferon regulatory factor 8
Source:NCBIAccessed: 31 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (21)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells
  • Bladder Cancer
  • Mutation
  • Disease Progression
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Protein Binding
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Up-Regulation
  • Cancer DNA
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Down-Regulation
  • Tumor Suppressor Gene
  • Young Adult
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • fas Receptor
  • Urothelium
  • DNA Methylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Interferon Regulatory Factors
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
  • Epigenetics
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Chromosome 16
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Knockout Mice
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Apoptosis
  • Promoter Regions
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Myeloid Cells
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Messenger RNA
  • Gene Silencing
Tag cloud generated 31 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: IRF8 (cancer-related)

Bell CC, Fennell KA, Chan YC, et al.
Targeting enhancer switching overcomes non-genetic drug resistance in acute myeloid leukaemia.
Nat Commun. 2019; 10(1):2723 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Non-genetic drug resistance is increasingly recognised in various cancers. Molecular insights into this process are lacking and it is unknown whether stable non-genetic resistance can be overcome. Using single cell RNA-sequencing of paired drug naïve and resistant AML patient samples and cellular barcoding in a unique mouse model of non-genetic resistance, here we demonstrate that transcriptional plasticity drives stable epigenetic resistance. With a CRISPR-Cas9 screen we identify regulators of enhancer function as important modulators of the resistant cell state. We show that inhibition of Lsd1 (Kdm1a) is able to overcome stable epigenetic resistance by facilitating the binding of the pioneer factor, Pu.1 and cofactor, Irf8, to nucleate new enhancers that regulate the expression of key survival genes. This enhancer switching results in the re-distribution of transcriptional co-activators, including Brd4, and provides the opportunity to disable their activity and overcome epigenetic resistance. Together these findings highlight key principles to help counteract non-genetic drug resistance.

He Y, Jiang Z, Chen C, Wang X
Classification of triple-negative breast cancers based on Immunogenomic profiling.
J Exp Clin Cancer Res. 2018; 37(1):327 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Abundant evidence shows that triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is heterogeneous, and many efforts have been devoted to identifying TNBC subtypes on the basis of genomic profiling. However, few studies have explored the classification of TNBC specifically based on immune signatures that may facilitate the optimal stratification of TNBC patients responsive to immunotherapy.
METHODS: Using four publicly available TNBC genomics datasets, we classified TNBC on the basis of the immunogenomic profiling of 29 immune signatures. Unsupervised and supervised machine learning methods were used to perform the classification.
RESULTS: We identified three TNBC subtypes that we named Immunity High (Immunity_H), Immunity Medium (Immunity_M), and Immunity Low (Immunity_L) and demonstrated that this classification was reliable and predictable by analyzing multiple different datasets. Immunity_H was characterized by greater immune cell infiltration and anti-tumor immune activities, as well as better survival prognosis compared to the other subtypes. Besides the immune signatures, some cancer-associated pathways were hyperactivated in Immunity_H, including apoptosis, calcium signaling, MAPK signaling, PI3K-Akt signaling, and RAS signaling. In contrast, Immunity_L presented depressed immune signatures and increased activation of cell cycle, Hippo signaling, DNA replication, mismatch repair, cell adhesion molecule binding, spliceosome, adherens junction function, pyrimidine metabolism, glycosylphosphatidylinositol (GPI)-anchor biosynthesis, and RNA polymerase pathways. Furthermore, we identified a gene co-expression subnetwork centered around five transcription factor (TF) genes (CORO1A, STAT4, BCL11B, ZNF831, and EOMES) specifically significant in the Immunity_H subtype and a subnetwork centered around two TF genes (IRF8 and SPI1) characteristic of the Immunity_L subtype.
CONCLUSIONS: The identification of TNBC subtypes based on immune signatures has potential clinical implications for TNBC treatment.

Li L, Peng M, Xue W, et al.
Integrated analysis of dysregulated long non-coding RNAs/microRNAs/mRNAs in metastasis of lung adenocarcinoma.
J Transl Med. 2018; 16(1):372 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD), largely remains a primary cause of cancer-related death worldwide. The molecular mechanisms in LUAD metastasis have not been completely uncovered.
METHODS: In this study, we identified differentially expressed genes (DEGs), miRNAs (DEMs) and lncRNAs (DELs) underlying metastasis of LUAD from The Cancer Genome Atlas database. Intersection mRNAs were used to perform gene ontology (GO), Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathway and co-expression network analysis. In addition, survival analyses of intersection mRNAs were conducted. Finally, intersection mRNAs, miRNAs and lncRNAs were subjected to construct miRNA-mRNA-lncRNA network.
RESULTS: A total of 1015 DEGs, 54 DEMs and 22 DELs were identified in LUAD metastasis and non-metastasis samples. GO and KEGG pathway analysis had proven that the functions of intersection mRNAs were closely related with many important processes in cancer pathogenesis. Among the co-expression interactions network, 22 genes in the co-expression network were over the degree 20. These genes imply that they have connections with many other gene nodes. In addition, 14 target genes (ARHGAP11A, ASPM, HELLS, PRC1, TMPO, ARHGAP30, CD52, IL16, IRF8, P2RY13, PRKCB, PTPRC, SASH3 and TRAF3IP3) were found to be associated with survival in patients with LUAD significantly (log-rank P < 0.05). Two lncRNAs (LOC96610 and ADAM6) acting as ceRNAs were identified based on the miRNA-mRNA-lncRNA network.
CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, the results may provide a novel perspective to develop a multiple gene diagnostic tool for LUAD prognosis, which might also provide potential biomarkers or therapeutic targets for LUAD.

Ye L, Xiang T, Zhu J, et al.
Interferon Consensus Sequence-Binding Protein 8, a Tumor Suppressor, Suppresses Tumor Growth and Invasion of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer by Interacting with the Wnt/β-Catenin Pathway.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018; 51(2):961-978 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Interferon consensus sequence-binding protein 8 (IRF8) belongs to a family of interferon (IFN) regulatory factors that modulates various important physiological processes including carcinogenesis. As reported by others and our group, IRF8 expression is silenced by DNA methylation in both human solid tumors and hematological malignancies. However, the role of IRF8 in lung carcinoma remains elusive. In this study, we determined IRF8 epigenetic regulation, biological functions, and the signaling pathway involved in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
METHODS: IRF8 expression were determined by Q- PCR. MSP and A+T determined promotor methylation. MTS, clonogenic, Transwell assay, Flow cytometry, three-dimensional culture and AO/EB stain verified cell function. In vivo tumorigenesis examed the in vivo effects. By Chip-QPCR, RT-PCR, Western blot and Immunofluorescence staining, the mechanisms were studied.
RESULTS: IRF8 was significantly downregulated in lung tumor tissues compared with adjacent non-cancerous tissues. Furthermore, methylation-specific PCR analyses revealed that IRF8 methylation in NSCLC was a common event, and demethylation reagent treatment proved that downregulation of IRF8 was due to its promoter CpG hypermethylation. Clinical data showed that the IRF8 methylation was associated with tumor stage, lymph node metastasis status, patient outcome, and tumor histology. Exogenous expression of IRF8 in the silenced or downregulated lung cancer cell lines A549 and H1299 at least partially restored the sensitivity of lung cancer cells to apoptosis, and arrested cells at the G0/G1 phase. Cell viability, clonogenicity, and cell migration and invasive abilities were strongly inhibited by restored expression of IRF8. A three-dimensional culture system demonstrated that IRF8 changed the cells to a more spherical phenotype. Moreover, ectopic expression of IRF8 enhanced NSCLC chemosensitivity to cisplatin. Furthermore, as verified by Chip-qPCR, immunofluorescence staining, and western blotting, IRF8 bound to the T-cell factor/lymphoid enhancer factor (TCF /LEF) promoter, thus repressing β-catenin nuclear translocation and its activation. IRF8 significantly disrupted the effects of Wnt agonist, bml284, further suggesting its involvement in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
CONCLUSION: IRF8 acted as a tumor suppressor gene through the transcriptional repression of β-catenin-TCF/LEF in NSCLC. IRF8 methylation may serve as a potential biomarker in NSCLC prognosis.

Gaillard C, Surianarayanan S, Bentley T, et al.
Identification of IRF8 as a potent tumor suppressor in murine acute promyelocytic leukemia.
Blood Adv. 2018; 2(19):2462-2466 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Although the role of promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor α (PML/RARA) fusion protein is well recognized in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), its contribution to initiation and maintenance of leukemogenesis is not completely understood. Transcriptome analysis in the murine

Asada S, Goyama S, Inoue D, et al.
Mutant ASXL1 cooperates with BAP1 to promote myeloid leukaemogenesis.
Nat Commun. 2018; 9(1):2733 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
ASXL1 mutations occur frequently in myeloid neoplasms and are associated with poor prognosis. However, the mechanisms by which mutant ASXL1 induces leukaemogenesis remain unclear. In this study, we report mutually reinforcing effects between a C-terminally truncated form of mutant ASXL1 (ASXL1-MT) and BAP1 in promoting myeloid leukaemogenesis. BAP1 expression results in increased monoubiquitination of ASXL1-MT, which in turn increases the catalytic function of BAP1. This hyperactive ASXL1-MT/BAP1 complex promotes aberrant myeloid differentiation of haematopoietic progenitor cells and accelerates RUNX1-ETO-driven leukaemogenesis. Mechanistically, this complex induces upregulation of posterior HOXA genes and IRF8 through removal of H2AK119 ubiquitination. Importantly, BAP1 depletion inhibits posterior HOXA gene expression and leukaemogenicity of ASXL1-MT-expressing myeloid leukemia cells. Furthermore, BAP1 is also required for the growth of MLL-fusion leukemia cells with posterior HOXA gene dysregulation. These data indicate that BAP1, which has long been considered a tumor suppressor, in fact plays tumor-promoting roles in myeloid neoplasms.

Graff-Baker AN, Orozco JIJ, Marzese DM, et al.
Epigenomic and Transcriptomic Characterization of Secondary Breast Cancers.
Ann Surg Oncol. 2018; 25(10):3082-3087 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Molecular alterations impact tumor prognosis and response to treatment. This study was designed to identify transcriptomic and epigenomic signatures of breast cancer (BC) tumors from patients with any prior malignancy.
METHODS: RNA-sequencing and genome-wide DNA methylation profiles from BCs were generated in the Cancer Genome Atlas project. Patients with secondary breast cancer (SBC) were separated by histological subtype and matched to primary breast cancer controls to create two independent cohorts of invasive ductal (IDC, n = 36) and invasive lobular (ILC, n = 40) carcinoma. Differentially expressed genes, as well as differentially methylated genomic regions, were integrated to identify epigenetically regulated abnormal gene pathways in SBCs.
RESULTS: Differentially expressed genes were identified in IDC SBCs (n = 727) and in ILC SBCs (n = 261; Wilcoxon's test; P < 0.05). In IDC SBCs, 105 genes were upregulated and hypomethylated, including an estrogen receptor gene, and 73 genes were downregulated and hypermethylated, including genes involved in antigen presentation and interferon response pathways (HLA-E, IRF8, and RELA). In ILC SBCs, however, only 17 genes were synchronously hypomethylated and upregulated, whereas 46 genes hypermethylated and downregulated. Interestingly, the SBC gene expression signatures closely corresponded with each histological subtype with only 1.51% of genes overlapping between the two histological subtypes.
CONCLUSIONS: Differential gene expression and DNA methylation signatures are seen in both IDC and ILC SBCs, including genes that are relevant to tumor growth and proliferation. Differences in gene expression signatures corresponding with each histological subtype emphasize the importance of disease subtype-specific evaluations of molecular alterations.

Stavast CJ, Leenen PJM, Erkeland SJ
The interplay between critical transcription factors and microRNAs in the control of normal and malignant myelopoiesis.
Cancer Lett. 2018; 427:28-37 [PubMed] Related Publications
Myelopoiesis is a complex process driven by essential transcription factors, including C/EBPα, PU.1, RUNX1, KLF4 and IRF8. Together, these factors are critical for the control of myeloid progenitor cell expansion and lineage determination in the development of granulocytes and monocytes/macrophages. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are expressed in a cell type and lineage specific manner. There is increasing evidence that miRNAs fine-tune the expression of hematopoietic lineage-specific transcription factors and drive the lineage decisions of hematopoietic progenitor cells. In this review, we discuss recently discovered self-activating and feed-back mechanisms in which transcription factors and miRNAs interact during myeloid cell development. Furthermore, we delineate how some of these mechanisms are affected in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and how disrupted transcription factor-miRNA interplays contribute to leukemogenesis.

Tanikawa C, Kamatani Y, Takahashi A, et al.
GWAS identifies two novel colorectal cancer loci at 16q24.1 and 20q13.12.
Carcinogenesis. 2018; 39(5):652-660 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the fourth leading cause of cancer mortality worldwide. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identified more than 50 CRC loci. However, most of the previous studies were conducted in European population, and host genetic factors among Japanese population are largely remained to be identified. To identify novel loci in the Japanese population, here, we performed a large-scale GWAS using 6692 cases and 27 178 controls followed by a replication analysis using more than 11 000 case-control samples. We found the significant association of 10 loci (P < 5 × 10-8), including 2 novel loci on 16q24.1 (IRF8-FOXF1, rs847208, P = 3.15 × 10-9 and odds ratio = 1.107 with 95% confidence interval (CI) of 1.071-1.145) and 20q13.12 (TOX2, rs6065668, P = 4.47 × 10-11 and odds ratio = 0.897 with 95% CI of 0.868-0.926). Moreover, 35 previously reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in 24 regions were validated in the Japanese population (P < 0.05) with the same risk allele as in the previous studies. SNP rs6065668 was significantly associated with TOX2 expression in the sigmoid colon. In addition, nucleotide substitutions in the regulatory region of TOX2 were predicted to alter the binding of several transcription factors, including KLF5. Our findings elucidate the important role of genetic variations in the development of CRC in the Japanese population.

de Mingo Pulido Á, Gardner A, Hiebler S, et al.
TIM-3 Regulates CD103
Cancer Cell. 2018; 33(1):60-74.e6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Intratumoral CD103

Gordiienko I, Shlapatska L, Kholodniuk VM, et al.
CD150 and CD180 are involved in regulation of transcription factors expression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.
Exp Oncol. 2017; 39(4):291-298 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Sequential stages of B-cell development is stringently coordinated by transcription factors (TFs) network that include B-lineage commitment TFs (Ikaros, Runx1/Cbfb, E2A, and FOXO1), B-lineage maintenance TFs (EBF1 and PAX5) and stage specific set of TFs (IRF4, IRF8, BCL6, BLIMP1). Deregulation of TFs expression and activity is often occurs in malignant B cells. The aim of this study was to evaluate TFs expression in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells taking into consideration CD150 cell surface expression. From other side we attempted to regulate TFs expression via CD150 and CD180 cell surface receptors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Studies were performed on normal peripheral blood B-cell subpopulations and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells isolated from peripheral blood of 67 primary untreated patients with CLL. Evaluation of TFs expression was performed on mRNA level using qRT-PCR and on protein level by western blot analysis.
RESULTS: Median of PAX5 and EBF1 mRNA expression was higher in cell surface CD150 positive (csCD150
CONCLUSIONS: Analysis of TFs expression profile revealed upregulated SPIB mRNA level and downregulated PU.1 in CLL cells. CD150 and CD180 receptors may modulate transcriptional program in CLL cells by regulating the TFs expression levels.

Humblin E, Thibaudin M, Chalmin F, et al.
IRF8-dependent molecular complexes control the Th9 transcriptional program.
Nat Commun. 2017; 8(1):2085 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Interferon regulatory factors (IRF) have critical functions in lymphoid development and in immune response regulation. Although many studies have described the function of IRF4 in CD4

Mittal D, Vijayan D, Putz EM, et al.
Interleukin-12 from CD103
Cancer Immunol Res. 2017; 5(12):1098-1108 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several host factors may affect the spread of cancer to distant organs; however, the intrinsic role of dendritic cells (DC) in controlling metastasis is poorly described. Here, we show in several tumor models that although the growth of primary tumors in Batf3-deficient mice, which lack cross-presenting DCs, was not different from primary tumors in wild-type (WT) control mice, Batf3-deficient mice had increased experimental and spontaneous metastasis and poorer survival. The increased metastasis was independent of CD4

Poe JC, Jia W, Su H, et al.
An aberrant NOTCH2-BCR signaling axis in B cells from patients with chronic GVHD.
Blood. 2017; 130(19):2131-2145 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
B-cell receptor (BCR)-activated B cells contribute to pathogenesis in chronic graft-versus-host disease (cGVHD), a condition manifested by both B-cell autoreactivity and immune deficiency. We hypothesized that constitutive BCR activation precluded functional B-cell maturation in cGVHD. To address this, we examined BCR-NOTCH2 synergy because NOTCH has been shown to increase BCR responsiveness in normal mouse B cells. We conducted ex vivo activation and signaling assays of 30 primary samples from hematopoietic stem cell transplantation patients with and without cGVHD. Consistent with a molecular link between pathways, we found that BCR-NOTCH activation significantly increased the proximal BCR adapter protein BLNK. BCR-NOTCH activation also enabled persistent NOTCH2 surface expression, suggesting a positive feedback loop. Specific NOTCH2 blockade eliminated NOTCH-BCR activation and significantly altered NOTCH downstream targets and B-cell maturation/effector molecules. Examination of the molecular underpinnings of this "NOTCH2-BCR axis" in cGVHD revealed imbalanced expression of the transcription factors

Guo C, Pei L, Xiao X, et al.
DNA methylation protects against cisplatin-induced kidney injury by regulating specific genes, including interferon regulatory factor 8.
Kidney Int. 2017; 92(5):1194-1205 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that regulates gene transcription without changing primary nucleotide sequences. In mammals, DNA methylation involves the covalent addition of a methyl group to the 5-carbon position of cytosine by DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs). The change of DNA methylation and its pathological role in acute kidney injury (AKI) remain largely unknown. Here, we analyzed genome-wide DNA methylation during cisplatin-induced AKI by reduced representation bisulfite sequencing. This technique identified 215 differentially methylated regions between the kidneys of control and cisplatin-treated animals. While most of the differentially methylated regions were in the intergenic, intronic, and coding DNA sequences, some were located in the promoter or promoter-regulatory regions of 15 protein-coding genes. To determine the pathological role of DNA methylation, we initially examined the effects of the DNA methylation inhibitor 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine and showed it increased cisplatin-induced apoptosis in a rat kidney proximal tubular cell line. We further established a kidney proximal tubule-specific DNMT1 (PT-DNMT1) knockout mouse model, which showed more severe AKI during cisplatin treatment than wild-type mice. Finally, interferon regulatory factor 8 (Irf8), a pro-apoptotic factor, was identified as a hypomethylated gene in cisplatin-induced AKI, and this hypomethylation was associated with a marked induction of Irf8. In the rat kidney proximal tubular cells, the knockdown of Irf8 suppressed cisplatin-induced apoptosis, supporting a pro-death role of Irf8 in renal tubular cells. Thus, DNA methylation plays a protective role in cisplatin-induced AKI by regulating specific genes, such as Irf8.

Fragale A, Romagnoli G, Licursi V, et al.
Antitumor Effects of Epidrug/IFNα Combination Driven by Modulated Gene Signatures in Both Colorectal Cancer and Dendritic Cells.
Cancer Immunol Res. 2017; 5(7):604-616 [PubMed] Related Publications
Colorectal cancer results from the progressive accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations. IFN signaling defects play an important role in the carcinogenesis process, in which the inability of IFN transcription regulatory factors (IRF) to access regulatory sequences in IFN-stimulated genes (ISG) in tumors and in immune cells may be pivotal. We reported that low-dose combination of two FDA-approved epidrugs, azacytidine (A) and romidepsin (R), with IFNα2 (ARI) hampers the aggressiveness of both colorectal cancer metastatic and stem cells

Zhong W, Xu X, Zhu Z, et al.
Increased expression of IRF8 in tumor cells inhibits the generation of Th17 cells and predicts unfavorable survival of diffuse large B cell lymphoma patients.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(30):49757-49772 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The immunological pathogenesis of diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) remains elusive. Searching for new prognostic markers of DLBCL is a crucial focal point for clinical scientists. The aim of the present study was to examine the prognostic value of interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8) expression and its effect on the development of Th17 cells in the tumor microenvironment of DLBCL patients. Flow cytometry, immunohistochemistry, and quantitative real-time PCR were used to detect the distribution of Th17 cells and related cytokines and IRF8 in tumor tissues from DLBCL patients. Two DLBCL cell lines (OCI-LY10 and OCI-LY1) with IRF8 knockdown or overexpression and two human B lymphoblast cell lines were co-cultured with peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in vitro to determine the effect of IRF8 on the generation of Th17 cells. Quantitative real-time PCR and Western blotting were used to investigate the involvement of retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma t (RORγt) in the effect of IRF8 on Th17 cell generation. The survival of 67 DLBCL patients was estimated using the Kaplan-Meier method and log-rank analysis. The percentage of Th17 cells was lower in DLBCL tumor tissues than in PBMCs and corresponding adjacent benign tissues. Relative expression of interleukin (IL)-17A was lower, whereas that of interferon (IFN)-γ was higher in tumor tissues than in benign tissues. Co-culture with DLBCL cell lines inhibited the generation of Th17 cells in vitro. IRF8 upregulation was detected in DLBCL tumor tissues, and it was associated with decreased DLBCL patient survival. Investigation of the underlying mechanism suggested that IRF8 upregulation in DLBCL, through an unknown mechanism, inhibited Th17 cell generation by suppressing RORγt in neighboring CD4+ T cells. Tumor cells may express soluble or membrane-bound factors that inhibit the expression of RORγt in T cells within the tumor microenvironment. Our findings suggest that IRF8 expression could be a prognostic factor for DLBCL.

Schmidt J, Ramis-Zaldivar JE, Nadeu F, et al.
Mutations of
Blood. 2017; 130(3):323-327 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Pediatric-type follicular lymphoma (PTFL) is a B-cell lymphoma with distinctive clinicopathological features. Recently, recurrent genetic alterations of potential importance for its pathogenesis that disrupt pathways associated with the germinal center reaction (

Liu X, Chen J, Yu S, et al.
All-trans retinoic acid and arsenic trioxide fail to derepress the monocytic differentiation driver Irf8 in acute promyelocytic leukemia cells.
Cell Death Dis. 2017; 8(5):e2782 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
All-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) and/or arsenic trioxide (ATO) administration leads to granulocytic maturation and/or apoptosis of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) cells mainly by targeting promyelocytic leukemia/retinoic acid receptor alpha (PML/RARα). Yet, ~10-15% of APL patients are not cured by ATRA- and ATO-based therapies, and a potential failure of ATRA and ATO in completely reversing PML/RARα-driven oncogenic alterations has not been comprehensively examined. Here we characterized the in vivo primary responses of dysregulated genes in APL cells treated with ATRA and ATO using a GFP-labeled APL model. Although induced granulocytic differentiation of APL cells was evident after ATRA or ATO administration, the expression of the majority of dysregulated genes in the c-Kit

Luo X, Xiong X, Shao Q, et al.
The tumor suppressor interferon regulatory factor 8 inhibits β-catenin signaling in breast cancers, but is frequently silenced by promoter methylation.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(30):48875-48888 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 8 is encoded by a novel candidate tumor suppressor gene (IRF8), its promotor is frequently methylated in multiple cancers. However, the promoter methylation status, functions and underlying mechanisms of IRF8 in breast cancer remain unclear. We found that IRF8 was downregulated in breast cancer cell lines and primary tumors, compared with normal breast tissues, mainly because of aberrant promoter methylation. However, its expression was not associated with pathological characteristics. Restoration of IRF8 expression suppressed cell proliferation, colony formation, 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine incorporation, cell migration and invasion, and induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest in vitro. IRF8 also inhibited xenograft growth in nude mice in vivo. Competition with IRF8 function by IRF8 mutant (K79E) enhanced cell migration and invasion in 4T1 murine cells in vitro. Importantly, IRF8, as both downstream target gene and regulator of IFN-γ/STAT1 signaling, inhibited canonical β-catenin signaling. These findings identify IRF8 as a novel tumor suppressor regulating IFN-γ/STAT1 signaling and β-catenin signaling in breast cancer.

Netherby CS, Messmer MN, Burkard-Mandel L, et al.
The Granulocyte Progenitor Stage Is a Key Target of IRF8-Mediated Regulation of Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cell Production.
J Immunol. 2017; 198(10):4129-4139 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Alterations in myelopoiesis are common across various tumor types, resulting in immature populations termed myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSC burden correlates with poorer clinical outcomes, credited to their ability to suppress antitumor immunity. MDSCs consist of two major subsets, monocytic and polymorphonuclear (PMN). Intriguingly, the latter subset predominates in many patients and tumor models, although the mechanisms favoring PMN-MDSC responses remain poorly understood. Ordinarily, lineage-restricted transcription factors regulate myelopoiesis that collectively dictate cell fate. One integral player is IFN regulatory factor (IRF)-8, which promotes monocyte/dendritic cell differentiation while limiting granulocyte development. We recently showed that IRF8 inversely controls MDSC burden in tumor models, particularly the PMN-MDSC subset. However, where IRF8 acts in the pathway of myeloid differentiation to influence PMN-MDSC production has remained unknown. In this study, we showed that: 1) tumor growth was associated with a selective expansion of newly defined IRF8

Netherby CS, Abrams SI
Mechanisms overseeing myeloid-derived suppressor cell production in neoplastic disease.
Cancer Immunol Immunother. 2017; 66(8):989-996 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Perturbations in myeloid cell differentiation are common in neoplasia, culminating in immature populations known as myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). MDSCs favor tumor progression due to their ability to suppress host immunity or promote invasion and metastasis. They are thought to originate from the bone marrow as a result of exposure to stromal- or circulating tumor-derived factors (TDFs). Although great interest has been placed on understanding how MDSCs function, less is known regarding how MDSCs develop at a transcriptional level. Our work explores the premise that MDSCs arise because cancer cells, through the production of certain TDFs, inhibit the expression of interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF8) that is ordinarily essential for controlling fundamental properties of myeloid cell differentiation. Our interest in IRF8 has been based on the following rationale. First, it is well-recognized that IRF8 is a 'master regulator' of normal myelopoiesis, critical not only for producing monocytes, dendritic cells (DCs), and neutrophils, but also for controlling the balance of all three major myeloid cell types. This became quite evident in IRF8

Pinpointing a Factor in Myeloma Bone Disease.
Cancer Discov. 2016; 6(11):1201-1202 [PubMed] Related Publications
A recent study implicates thymidine phosphorylase in myeloma-induced bone disease and suggests that inhibiting the enzyme may be a viable therapeutic option. Thymidine phosphorylase provokes osteolytic lesions by disrupting the balance between bone resorption and formation, shifting it toward a net loss of bone tissue.

Hjort EE, Huang W, Hu L, Eklund EA
Bcr-abl regulates Stat5 through Shp2, the interferon consensus sequence binding protein (Icsbp/Irf8), growth arrest specific 2 (Gas2) and calpain.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(47):77635-77650 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Icsbp/Irf8 is an interferon regulatory transcription factor that functions as a suppressor of myeloid leukemias. Consistent with this activity, Icsbp represses a set of genes encoding proteins that promote cell proliferation/survival. One such gene encodes Gas2, a calpain inhibitor. We previously found that increased Gas2-expression in Bcr-abl+ cells stabilized βcatenin; a Calpain substrate. This was of interest, because βcatenin contributes to disease progression in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Calpain has additional substrates implicated in leukemogenesis, including Stat5. In the current study, we hypothesized that Stat5 activity in CML is regulated by Gas2/Calpain. We found that Bcr-abl-induced, Shp2-dependent dephosphorylation of Icsbp impaired repression of GAS2 by this transcription factor. The consequent decrease in Calpain activity stabilized Stat5 protein; increasing the absolute abundance of both phospho and total Stat5. This enhanced repression of the IRF8 promoter by Stat5 in a manner dependent on Icsbp, Gas2 and Calpain, but not Stat5 tyrosine phosphorylation. During normal myelopoiesis, increased expression and phosphorylation of Icsbp inhibits Calpain. In contrast, constitutive activation of Shp2 in Bcr-abl+ cells impairs regulation of Gas2/Calpain by Icsbp, aberrantly stabilizing Stat5 and enhancing IRF8 repression. This novel feedback mechanism enhances leukemogenesis by increasing Stat5 and decreasing Icsbp. Bcr-abl targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) provide long term disease control, but CML is not cured by these agents. Our studies suggest targeting Calpain might be a rational therapeutic approach to decrease persistent leukemia stem cells (LSCs) during TKI-treatment.

van Essen TH, van Pelt SI, Bronkhorst IH, et al.
Upregulation of HLA Expression in Primary Uveal Melanoma by Infiltrating Leukocytes.
PLoS One. 2016; 11(10):e0164292 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
INTRODUCTION: Uveal melanoma (UM) with an inflammatory phenotype, characterized by infiltrating leukocytes and increased human leukocyte antigen (HLA) expression, carry an increased risk of death due to metastases. These tumors should be ideal for T-cell based therapies, yet it is not clear why prognostically-infaust tumors have a high HLA expression. We set out to determine whether the level of HLA molecules in UM is associated with other genetic factors, HLA transcriptional regulators, or microenvironmental factors.
METHODS: 28 enucleated UM were used to study HLA class I and II expression, and several regulators of HLA by immunohistochemistry, PCR microarray, qPCR and chromosome SNP-array. Fresh tumor samples of eight primary UM and four metastases were compared to their corresponding xenograft in SCID mice, using a PCR microarray and SNP array.
RESULTS: Increased expression levels of HLA class I and II showed no dosage effect of chromosome 6p, but, as expected, were associated with monosomy of chromosome 3. Increased HLA class I and II protein levels were positively associated with their gene expression and with raised levels of the peptide-loading gene TAP1, and HLA transcriptional regulators IRF1, IRF8, CIITA, and NLRC5, revealing a higher transcriptional activity in prognostically-bad tumors. Implantation of fresh human tumor samples into SCID mice led to a loss of infiltrating leukocytes, and to a decreased expression of HLA class I and II genes, and their regulators.
CONCLUSION: Our data provides evidence for a proper functioning HLA regulatory system in UM, offering a target for T-cell based therapies.

Minderman H, Maguire O, O'Loughlin KL, et al.
Total cellular protein presence of the transcription factor IRF8 does not necessarily correlate with its nuclear presence.
Methods. 2017; 112:84-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF8) plays an essential role in myeloid differentiation and lineage commitment, based largely on molecular and genetic studies. The detection of IRF8 in specific cell populations by flow cytometry (FCM) has the potential to provide new insights into normal and pathologic myelopoiesis, but critical validation of this protein-based approach, particularly in human samples, is lacking. In this study, the assessment of total cellular IRF8 presence was compared to its specific nuclear presence as assessed by imaging flow cytometry (IFC) analysis. Peptide neutralization of the IRF8-specific antibody that has been predominantly used to date in the literature served as a negative control for the immunofluorescent labeling. Expression of total IRF8 was analyzed by total cellular fluorescence analogous to the mean fluorescence intensity readout of conventional FCM. Additionally, specific nuclear fluorescence and the similarity score between the nuclear image (DAPI) and the corresponding IRF8 image for each cell were analyzed as parameters for nuclear localization of IRF8. IFC showed that peptide blocking eliminated binding of the IRF8 antibody in the nucleus. It also reduced cytoplasmic binding of the antibody but not to the extent observed in the nucleus. In agreement with the similarity score data, the total cellular IRF8 as well as nuclear IRF8 intensities decreased with peptide blocking. In healthy donor peripheral blood subpopulations and a positive control cell line (THP-1), the assessment of IRF8 by total cellular presence correlated well with its specific nuclear presence and correlated with the known distribution of IRF8 in these cells. In clinical samples of myeloid-derived suppressors cells derived from patients with renal carcinoma, however, total cellular IRF8 did not necessarily correlate with its nuclear presence. Discordance was primarily associated with peptide blocking having a proportionally greater effect on the IRF8 nuclear localization versus total fluorescence assessment. The data thus indicate that IRF8 can have cytoplasmic presence and that during disease its nuclear-cytoplasmic distribution may be altered, which may provide a basis for potential myeloid defects during certain pathologies.

Wang J, Liu Q, Sun J, Shyr Y
Disrupted cooperation between transcription factors across diverse cancer types.
BMC Genomics. 2016; 17:560 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Transcription Factors (TFs), essential for many cellular processes, generally work coordinately to induce transcriptional change in response to internal and external signals. Disrupted cooperation between TFs, leading to dysregulation of target genes, contributes to the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cancer. Although the aberrant activation of individual TFs and the functional effects have been widely studied, the perturbation of TF cooperativity in cancer has rarely been explored.
RESULTS: We used TF co-expression as proxy as cooperativity and performed a large-scale study on disrupted TF cooperation across seven cancer types. While the connectivity of downstream effectors, like metabolic genes and TF targets, were more or similarly disrupted than/with non-TFs, the cooperativity of TFs (upstream regulators) were consistently less disturbed in all studied cancer types. Highly coordinated TFs in normal, however, generally lost that cooperation in cancer. Although different types of cancer shared very few TF pairs with highly disrupted cooperation, the cooperativity of interferon regulatory factors (IRF) was highly disrupted in six cancer types. Specifically, the cooperativity of IRF8 was highly perturbed in lung cancer, which was further validated by two independent lung squamous cell carcinoma (LUSC) and lung adenocarcinoma (LUAD) datasets. More interestingly, the cooperativity of IRF8 was markedly associated with tumor progression and even contributed to the patient survival independent of tumor stage.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings underscore the far more important role of TF cooperativity in tumorigenesis than previously appreciated. Disrupted cooperation of TFs provides potential clinical utility as prognostic markers for predicting the patient survival.

Cizmeci D, Dempster EL, Champion OL, et al.
Mapping epigenetic changes to the host cell genome induced by Burkholderia pseudomallei reveals pathogen-specific and pathogen-generic signatures of infection.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:30861 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The potential for epigenetic changes in host cells following microbial infection has been widely suggested, but few examples have been reported. We assessed genome-wide patterns of DNA methylation in human macrophage-like U937 cells following infection with Burkholderia pseudomallei, an intracellular bacterial pathogen and the causative agent of human melioidosis. Our analyses revealed significant changes in host cell DNA methylation, at multiple CpG sites in the host cell genome, following infection. Infection induced differentially methylated probes (iDMPs) showing the greatest changes in DNA methylation were found to be in the vicinity of genes involved in inflammatory responses, intracellular signalling, apoptosis and pathogen-induced signalling. A comparison of our data with reported methylome changes in cells infected with M. tuberculosis revealed commonality of differentially methylated genes, including genes involved in T cell responses (BCL11B, FOXO1, KIF13B, PAWR, SOX4, SYK), actin cytoskeleton organisation (ACTR3, CDC42BPA, DTNBP1, FERMT2, PRKCZ, RAC1), and cytokine production (FOXP1, IRF8, MR1). Overall our findings show that pathogenic-specific and pathogen-common changes in the methylome occur following infection.

Tian H
Identification of candidate genes for myeloma-induced osteocyte death based on microarray data.
J Orthop Surg Res. 2016; 11(1):81 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The study was aimed to investigate the molecular mechanisms of osteocyte death in multiple myeloma (MM) patients.
METHODS: GSE27372 was downloaded from Gene Expression Omnibus, including three HOB-01 (osteocyte cell line) control samples and three HOB-01 samples co-cultured with JJN3 (human MM cell line). After the differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified by Student's t test method, enrichment analyses were performed for them using DAVID software. Using TRANSFAC, TSGene, and tumor-associated gene (TAG) databases, functional annotation was conducted for the DEGs. Additionally, protein-protein interaction (PPI) network and sub-network analyses were performed using STRING database and Cytoscape software.
RESULTS: Total 393 DEGs were identified, including 22 transcription factors (e.g., KLF4 and IRF8) and 37 TAGs. Enrichment analysis suggested that EGF, S1PR1, and NPY1R were enriched in the function of circulatory system development. EGF (degree = 31) and EGR1 (degree = 19) had high degrees and interactions in the PPI network. In the sub-network, S1PR1, C3AR1, and NPY1R could interact with each other.
CONCLUSIONS: These DEGs might participate in the osteocyte apoptosis induced by myeloma cells. These findings might provide a theoretical basis for a better understanding of the osteolysis in MM patients.

Abrams SI, Netherby CS, Twum DY, Messmer MN
Relevance of Interferon Regulatory Factor-8 Expression in Myeloid-Tumor Interactions.
J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2016; 36(7):442-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Perturbations in myelopoiesis are a common feature in solid tumor biology, reflecting the central premise that cancer is not only a localized affliction but also a systemic disease. Because the myeloid compartment is essential for the induction of adaptive immunity, these alterations in myeloid development contribute to the failure of the host to effectively manage tumor progression. These "dysfunctional" myeloid cells have been coined myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Interestingly, such cells not only arise in neoplasia but also are associated with many other inflammatory or pathologic conditions. MDSCs affect disease outcome through multiple mechanisms, including their ability to mediate generalized or antigen-specific immune suppression. Consequently, MDSCs pose a significant barrier to effective immunotherapy in multiple disease settings. Although much interest has been devoted to unraveling mechanisms by which MDSCs mediate immune suppression, a large gap has remained in our understanding of the mechanisms that drive their development in the first place. Investigations into this question have identified an unrecognized role of interferon regulatory factor-8 (IRF-8), a member of the IRF family of transcription factors, in tumor-induced myeloid dysfunction. Ordinarily, IRF-8 is involved in diverse stages of myelopoiesis, namely differentiation and lineage commitment toward monocytes, dendritic cells, and granulocytes. Several recent studies now support the hypothesis that IRF-8 functions as a "master" negative regulator of MDSC formation in vivo. This review focuses on IRF-8 as a potential target suppressed by tumors to cripple normal myelopoiesis, redirecting myeloid differentiation toward the emergence of MDSCs. Understanding the bases by which neoplasia drives MDSC accumulation has the potential to improve the efficacy of therapies that require a competent myeloid compartment.

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