Bmi-1 is a member of the Polycomb group family of proteins that function in the epigenetic silencing of genes governing self-renewal, differentiation, and proliferation. Bmi-1 was first identified through its ability to accelerate c-Myc-induced lymphomagenesis. Subsequent studies have further supported an oncogenic role for Bmi-1 in several cancers including those of the breast, lung, prostate, and brain. Using a stable and inducible shRNA system to silence Bmi-1 gene expression, we show a novel role for Bmi-1 in regulating the growth and clonogenic capacity of multiple myeloma cells both in vitro and in vivo. Moreover, to elucidate novel gene targets controlled by Bmi-1, global transcriptional profiling studies were performed in the setting of induced loss of Bmi-1 function. We found that the expression of the proapoptotic gene Bim is negatively regulated by Bmi-1 and that Bim knockdown functionally rescues the apoptotic phenotype induced upon loss of Bmi-1. Therefore, these studies not only highlight Bmi-1 as a cancer-dependent factor in multiple myeloma, but also elucidate a novel antiapoptotic mechanism for Bmi-1 function involving the suppression of Bim.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research