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Histone demethylase KDM2A is a selective vulnerability of cancers relying on alternative telomere maintenance
Fei Li, Yizhe Wang, Inah Hwang, Ja-Young Jang, Libo Xu, Zhong Deng, Eun Young Yu, Yiming Cai, Caizhi Wu, Zhenbo Han, Yu-Han Huang, Xiangao Huang, Ling Zhang, Jun Yao, Neal F Lue, Paul M Lieberman, Haoqiang Ying, Jihye Paik, Hongwu Zheng
...Through CRISPR/Cas9-based genetic screens in an ALT-immortalized isogenic cellular model, here we identify histone lysine demethylase KDM2A as a molecular vulnerability selectively for cells contingent on ALT-dependent telomere maintenance. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that KDM2A is required for dissolution of the ALT-specific telomere clusters following homology-directed telomere DNA synthesis. We show that KDM2A promotes de-clustering of ALT multitelomeres through facilitating isopeptidase SENP6-mediated SUMO deconjugation at telomeres. Inactivation of KDM2A or SENP6 impairs post-recombination telomere de-SUMOylation and thus dissolution of ALT telomere clusters, leading to gross chromosome missegregation and mitotic cell death. These findings together establish KDM2A as a selective molecular vulnerability and a promising drug target for ALT-dependent cancers.