First published July 10, 2018 - More info
Cyclin D1 is an oncogene frequently overexpressed in human cancers that plays a dual function as cell cycle and transcriptional regulator, although the latter is widely unexplored. Here, we investigated the transcriptional role of cyclin D1 in lymphoid tumor cells with cyclin D1 oncogenic overexpression. Cyclin D1 showed widespread binding to the promoters of most actively transcribed genes and the promoter occupancy positively correlated with the transcriptional output of targeted genes. Despite this association, the overexpression of cyclin D1 in lymphoid cells led to a global transcriptional downmodulation that was proportional to cyclin D1 levels. This cyclin D1 dependent global transcriptional downregulation was associated with a reduced nascent transcription and an accumulation of promoter-proximal paused RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) that colocalized with cyclin D1. Concordantly, cyclin D1 overexpresion promoted an increment of the Poll II pausing index. This transcriptional impairment seems to be mediated by the interaction of cyclin D1 with the transcription machinery. In addition, cyclin D1 overexpression sensitized cells to transcription inhibitors revealing a synthetic lethality interaction that it was also observed in primary MCL cases. This global transcriptional dysregulation expands the oncogenic cyclin D1 functions and places the transcriptional machinery as a potential therapeutic target in cyclin D1 overexpressing tumors.