Carcinoma-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) play an important role in the progression of multiple malignancies. Secretion of cytokines and growth factors underlies the pro-tumoral effect of CAFs. Although this paracrine function has been extensively documented, the molecular mechanisms controlling the expression of these factors remain elusive. In this study, we provide evidence of a novel CAF transcriptional axis regulating the expression of SDF1, a major driver of cancer cell migration, involving the transcription factor GLI1 and histone acetyltransferase p300. We demonstrate that conditioned media from CAFs overexpressing GLI1 induce the migration of pancreatic cancer cells, and this effect is impaired by an SDF1-neutralizing antibody. Using a combination of co-immunoprecipitation, proximity ligation assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay, we further demonstrate that GLI1 and p300 physically interact in CAFs to co-occupy and drive SDF1 promoter activity. Mapping experiments highlight the requirement of GLI1 N-terminal for the interaction with p300. Importantly, knockdowns of both GLI1 and p300 reduce SDF1 expression. Further analysis shows that knockdown of GLI1 decreases SDF1 promoter activity, p300 recruitment, and levels of its associated histone marks (H4ac, H3K27ac, and H3K14ac). Finally, we show that the integrity of two GLI binding sites in the SDF1 promoter is required for p300 recruitment. Our findings define a new role for the p300–GLI1 complex in the regulation of SDF1, providing new mechanistic insight into the molecular events controlling pancreatic cancer cells migration.

You do not currently have access to this content.