Research Papers:

Zinc finger protein 598 inhibits cell survival by promoting UV-induced apoptosis

Qiaohong Yang and Romi Gupta _

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:5906-5918. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23643

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Qiaohong Yang1 and Romi Gupta1

1Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510, USA

Correspondence to:

Romi Gupta, email: [email protected]

Keywords: zinc finger protein; UV-induced; apoptosis; upregulation; phenocopies

Received: October 27, 2017     Accepted: December 08, 2017     Published: December 23, 2017


UV is one of the major causes of DNA damage induced apoptosis. However, cancer cells adopt alternative mechanisms to evade UV-induced apoptosis. To identify factors that protect cancer cells from UV-induced apoptosis, we performed a genome wide short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) screen, which identified Zinc finger protein 598 (ZNF598) as a key regulator of UV-induced apoptosis. Here, we show that UV irradiation transcriptionally upregulates ZNF598 expression. Additionally, ZNF598 knockdown in cancer cells inhibited UV-induced apoptosis. In our study, we observe that ELK1 mRNA level as well as phosphorylated ELK1 levels was up regulated upon UV irradiation, which was necessary for UV irradiation induced upregulation of ZNF598. Cells expressing ELK1 shRNA were also resistant to UV-induced apoptosis, and phenocopy ZNF598 knockdown. Upon further investigation, we found that ZNF598 knockdown inhibits UV-induced apoptotic gene expression, which matches with decrease in percentage of annexin V positive cell. Similarly, ectopic expression of ZNF598 promoted apoptotic gene expression and also increased annexin V positive cells. Collectively, these results demonstrate that ZNF598 is a UV irradiation regulated gene and its loss results in resistance to UV-induced apoptosis.

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