Developmental chromatin programs determine oncogenic competence in melanoma
Baggiolini A., Callahan SJ., Montal E., Weiss JM., Trieu T., Tagore MM., Tischfield SE., Walsh RM., Suresh S., Fan Y., Campbell NR., Perlee SC., Saurat N., Hunter MV., Simon-Vermot T., Huang T-H., Ma Y., Hollmann T., Tickoo SK., Taylor BS., Khurana E., Koche RP., Studer L., White RM.
Chromatin state and oncogenic competence Although specific DNA mutations can lead to tumor generation, they are not transforming in all cellular contexts. This may be due to the intrinsic transcriptional program present in the cell of origin. Using zebrafish and human pluripotent stem cell cancer models, Baggiolini et al . report that neural crest cells and melanoblasts (precursors to melanocytes) are susceptible to specific mutation of the BRAF gene, whereas melanocytes are relatively resistant (see the Perspective by Vredevoogd and Peeper). The competent cells display higher levels of chromatin factors such as the protein ATAD2 compared with the less competent ones. ATAD2 forms a complex with the neural crest transcription factor SOX10 and establishes a chromatin state that makes them permissive to BRAF mutagenesis. These data indicate that developmental chromatin programs are a determinant of how cells respond to DNA mutations. —BAP