TGFβ-SMAD signaling exerts a contextual effect that suppresses malignant growth early in epithelial tumorigenesis but promotes metastasis at later stages. Longstanding challenges in resolving this functional dichotomy may uncover new strategies to treat advanced carcinomas. The Krüppel-like transcription factor KLF10 is a pivotal effector of TGFβ/SMAD signaling that mediates anti-proliferative effects of TGFβ. In this study, we show how KLF10 opposes the pro-metastatic effects of TGFβ by limiting its ability to induce epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). KLF10 depletion accentuated induction of EMT as assessed by multiple metrics. KLF10 occupied GC-rich sequences in the promoter region of the EMT-promoting transcription factor SLUG/SNAI2, repressing its transcription by recruiting HDAC1 and licensing the removal of activating histone acetylation marks. In clinical specimens of lung adenocarcinoma, low KLF10 expression associated with decreased patient survival, consistent with a pivotal role for KLF10 in distinguishing the anti-proliferative versus pro-metastatic functions of TGFβ. Our results establish that KLF10 functions to suppress TGFβ-induced EMT, establishing a molecular basis for the dichotomy of TGFβ function during tumor progression.
- Received September 21, 2016.
- Revision received February 6, 2017.
- Accepted February 16, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.