The DAXX co-repressor is directly recruited to active regulatory elements genome-wide to regulate autophagy programs in a model of human prostate cancer

Lorena A. Puto1, Christopher Benner2 and Tony Hunter1

1 Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA

2 Integrative Genomics and Bioinformatics Core, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA


Tony Hunter, email:

Keywords: ChIP-Seq, RNA-Seq, prostate cancer, DAXX, DNMT1, autophagy

Received: March 02, 2015 Accepted: April 08, 2015 Published: April 17, 2015


While carcinoma of the prostate is the second most common cause of cancer death in the US, current methods and markers used to predict prostate cancer (PCa) outcome are inadequate. This study was aimed at understanding the genome-wide binding and regulatory role of the DAXX transcriptional repressor, recently implicated in PCa. ChIP-Seq analysis of genome-wide distribution of DAXX in PC3 cells revealed over 59,000 DAXX binding sites, found at regulatory enhancers and promoters. ChIP-Seq analysis of DNA methyltransferase 1 (DNMT1), which is a key epigenetic partner for DAXX repression, revealed that DNMT1 binding was restricted to a small number of DAXX sites. DNMT1 and DAXX bound close to transcriptional activator motifs. DNMT1 sites were found to be dependent on DAXX for recruitment by analyzing DNMT1 ChIP-Seq following DAXX knockdown (K/D), corroborating previous findings that DAXX recruits DNMT1 to repress its target genes. Massively parallel RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) was used to compare the transcriptomes of WT and DAXX K/D PC3 cells. Genes induced by DAXX K/D included those involved in autophagy, and DAXX ChIP-Seq peaks were found close to the transcription start sites (TSS) of autophagy genes, implying they are more likely to be regulated by DAXX. In conclusion, DAXX binds active regulatory elements and co-localizes with DNMT1 in the prostate cancer genome. Given DAXX’s putative regulatory role in autophagy, future studies may consider DAXX as a candidate marker and therapeutic target for prostate cancer.

PII: 152