Krista L. Bledsoe, Meghan E. McGee-Lawrence, Emily T. Camilleri, Xiaoke Wang, Andre J. van Wijnen, Andre M. Oliveira and Jennifer J. Westendorf
Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive pediatric small round cell tumor that predominantly occurs in bone. Approximately 85% of Ewing sarcomas harbor the EWS/FLI fusion protein, which arises from a chromosomal translocation, t(11:22)(q24:q12). EWS/FLI interacts with numerous lineage-essential transcription factors to maintain mesenchymal progenitors in an undifferentiated state. We previously showed that EWS/FLI binds the osteogenic transcription factor RUNX2 and prevents osteoblast differentiation. In this study, we investigated the role of another Runt-domain protein, RUNX3, in Ewing sarcoma. RUNX3 participates in mesenchymal-derived bone formation and is a context dependent tumor suppressor and oncogene. RUNX3 was detected in all Ewing sarcoma cells examined, whereas RUNX2 was detected in only 73% of specimens. Like RUNX2, RUNX3 binds to EWS/FLI via its Runt domain. EWS/FLI prevented RUNX3 from activating the transcription of a RUNX-responsive reporter, p6OSE2. Stable suppression of RUNX3 expression in the Ewing sarcoma cell line A673 delayed colony growth in anchorage independent soft agar assays and reversed expression of EWS/FLI-responsive genes. These results demonstrate an important role for RUNX3 in Ewing sarcoma.