Gene Summary

Gene:ZNF521; zinc finger protein 521
Aliases: EHZF, Evi3
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:zinc finger protein 521
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (10)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 30 August 2019 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Lymphopoiesis
  • Mutation
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Heterografts
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Whole Exome Sequencing
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Cell Line
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • B-Lymphocytes
  • Acute Lymphocytic Leukaemia
  • Promoter Regions
  • Apoptosis
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • PAX5 Transcription Factor
  • FISH
  • ZNF521
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Chromosome 18
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • Up-Regulation
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Translocation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Infant
  • KMT2A
  • Trans-Activators
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Zinc Fingers
  • Transcription Factors
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Signal Transduction
  • Medulloblastoma
  • Base Sequence
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (4)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ZNF521 (cancer-related)

Cui M, Hu Y, Bi Y, et al.
Preliminary exploration of potential molecular therapeutic targets in recurrent and metastatic parathyroid carcinomas.
Int J Cancer. 2019; 144(3):525-532 [PubMed] Related Publications
Parathyroid carcinoma (PC) is a rare endocrine malignancy. Surgical resection is curative for local lesions, while effective therapies are lacking for recurrent or metastatic PCs. To study whether targeted therapies could be applied in recurrent or metastatic PCs, potential therapeutic targets were identified with next-generation sequencing (NGS). DNA was extracted from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) sections from 19 recurrent or metastatic PC samples. A panel of 560 genes was sequenced with NGS to identify genomic alterations at an average sequencing depth of 581×. In total, 190 genomic alterations were identified. Nine PC samples (47%) harbored at least one potentially actionable genomic alteration including in the after genes: ROS1 (5/19; 26%), PTEN (3/19; 16%), TSC1 (2/19; 11%), PIK3CA (1/19; 5%), AKT1 (1/19; 5%), MTOR (1/19; 5%), ERBB2 (1/19; 5%), NTRK1 (1/19; 5%), IDH1 (1/19; 5%) and FGFR3 (1/19; 5%). CDC73 mutations were detected in 9/19 (47%) PC samples. Additional recurrent genomic alterations were identified in MSH2 (15/19; 79%), AR (9/19; 47%), BCR (8/19; 42%), SLC45A3 (6/19; 32%), MAGI1 (5/19; 26%), ZNF521 (4/19; 21%), KMT2C (4/19; 21%) and NOTCH4 (4/19; 21%). Our study identified a relatively high frequency of potentially actionable genomic alterations in PC patients in a Chinese population for the first time. A series of recurrent mutant genes was detected as well. Our study contributes to both the selection of novel targeted therapies for PC and further molecular understanding of this refractory malignancy.

Germano G, Morello G, Aveic S, et al.
ZNF521 sustains the differentiation block in MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia.
Oncotarget. 2017; 8(16):26129-26141 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Zinc finger protein 521 (ZNF521) is a multiple zinc finger transcription factor and a strong candidate as regulator of hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis. Recently, independent gene expression profile studies have evidenced a positive correlation between ZNF521 mRNA overexpression and MLL-rearranged acute myeloid leukemia (AML), leaving open the question on the role of ZNF521 in this subtype of leukemia. In this study, we sought to analyze the effect of ZNF521 depletion on MLL-rearranged AML cell lines and MLL-AF9 xenograft primary cells. Knockdown of ZNF521 with short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) led to decreased leukemia proliferation, reduced colony formation and caused cell cycle arrest in MLL-rearranged AML cell lines. Importantly, we showed that loss of ZNF521 substantially caused differentiation of both MLL-rearranged cell lines and primary cells. Moreover, gene profile analysis in ZNF521-silenced THP-1 cells revealed a loss of MLL-AF9-directed leukemic signature and an increase of the differentiation program. Finally, we determined that both MLL-AF9 and MLL-ENL fusion proteins directly interacted with ZNF521 promoter activating its transcription. In conclusion, our findings identify ZNF521 as a critical effector of MLL fusion proteins in blocking myeloid differentiation and highlight ZNF521 as a potential therapeutic target for this subtype of leukemia.

Yu M, Al-Dallal S, Al-Haj L, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of the proto-oncogene Zfp521 by SPI1 (PU.1) and HOXC13.
Genesis. 2016; 54(10):519-533 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The mouse zinc-finger gene Zfp521 (also known as ecotropic viral insertion site 3; Evi3; and ZNF521 in humans) has been identified as a B-cell proto-oncogene, causing leukemia in mice following retroviral insertions in its promoter region that drive Zfp521 over-expression. Furthermore, ZNF521 is expressed in human hematopoietic cells, and translocations between ZNF521 and PAX5 are associated with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. However, the regulatory factors that control Zfp521 expression directly have not been characterized. Here we demonstrate that the transcription factors SPI1 (PU.1) and HOXC13 synergistically regulate Zfp521 expression, and identify the regions of the Zfp521 promoter required for this transcriptional activity. We also show that SPI1 and HOXC13 activate Zfp521 in a dose-dependent manner. Our data support a role for this regulatory mechanism in vivo, as transgenic mice over-expressing Hoxc13 in the fetal liver show a strong correlation between Hoxc13 expression levels and Zfp521 expression. Overall these experiments provide insights into the regulation of Zfp521 expression in a nononcogenic context. The identification of transcription factors capable of activating Zfp521 provides a foundation for further investigation of the regulatory mechanisms involved in ZFP521-driven cell differentiation processes and diseases linked to Zfp521 mis-expression.

Wang J, Papanicolau-Sengos A, Chintala S, et al.
Collecting duct carcinoma of the kidney is associated with CDKN2A deletion and SLC family gene up-regulation.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(21):29901-15 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The genetic landscape and molecular features of collecting duct carcinoma (CDC) of the kidney remain largely unknown. Herein, we performed whole exome sequencing (WES) and transcriptome sequencing (RNASeq) on 7 CDC samples (CDC1 -7). Among the 7 samples, 4 samples with matched non-tumor tissue were used for copy number analysis by SNP array data. No recurrent somatic SNVs were observed except for MLL, which was found to be mutated (p.V297I and p.F407C) in 2 samples. We identified somatic SNVs in 14 other cancer census genes including: ATM, CREBBP, PRDM1, CBFB, FBXW7, IKZF1, KDR, KRAS, NACA, NF2, NUP98, SS18, TP53, and ZNF521. SNP array data identified a CDKN2A homozygous deletion in 3 samples and SNV analysis showed a non-sense mutation of the CDKN2A gene with unknown somatic status. To estimate the recurrent rate of CDKN2A abnormalities, we performed FISH screening of additional samples and confirmed the frequent loss (62.5%) of CDKN2A expression. Since cisplatin based therapy is the common treatment option for CDC, we investigated the expression of solute carrier (SLC) family transporters and found 45% alteration. In addition, SLC7A11 (cystine transporter, xCT), a cisplatin resistance associated gene, was found to be overexpressed in 4 out of 5 (80%) cases of CDC tumors tested, as compared to matched non-tumor tissue. In summary, our study provides a comprehensive genomic analysis of CDC and identifies potential pathways suitable for targeted therapies.

Sera Y, Yamasaki N, Oda H, et al.
Identification of cooperative genes for E2A-PBX1 to develop acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Cancer Sci. 2016; 107(7):890-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
E2A-PBX1 is a chimeric gene product detected in t(1;19)-bearing acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with B-cell lineage. To investigate the leukemogenic process, we generated conditional knock-in (cKI) mice for E2A-PBX1, in which E2A-PBX1 is inducibly expressed under the control of the endogenous E2A promoter. Despite the induced expression of E2A-PBX1, no hematopoietic disease was observed, strongly suggesting that additional genetic alterations are required to develop leukemia. To address this possibility, retroviral insertional mutagenesis was used. Virus infection efficiently induced T-cell, B-cell, and biphenotypic ALL in E2A-PBX1 cKI mice. Inverse PCR identified eight retroviral common integration sites, in which enhanced expression was observed in the Gfi1, Mycn, and Pim1 genes. In addition, it is of note that viral integration and overexpression of the Zfp521 gene was detected in one tumor with B-cell lineage; we previously identified Zfp521 as a cooperative gene with E2A-HLF, another E2A-involving fusion gene with B-lineage ALL. The cooperative oncogenicity of E2A-PBX1 with overexpressed Zfp521 in B-cell tumorigenesis was indicated by the finding that E2A-PBX1 cKI, Zfp521 transgenic compound mice developed B-lineage ALL. Moreover, upregulation of ZNF521, the human counterpart of Zfp521, was found in several human leukemic cell lines bearing t(1;19). These results indicate that E2A-PBX1 cooperates with additional gene alterations to develop ALL. Among them, enhanced expression of ZNF521 may play a clinically relevant role in E2A fusion genes to develop B-lineage ALL.

Mesuraca M, Chiarella E, Scicchitano S, et al.
ZNF423 and ZNF521: EBF1 Antagonists of Potential Relevance in B-Lymphoid Malignancies.
Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015:165238 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The development of the B-lymphoid cell lineage is tightly controlled by the concerted action of a network of transcriptional and epigenetic regulators. EBF1, a central component of this network, is essential for B-lymphoid specification and commitment as well as for the maintenance of the B-cell identity. Genetic alterations causing loss of function of these B-lymphopoiesis regulators have been implicated in the pathogenesis of B-lymphoid malignancies, with particular regard to B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemias (B-ALLs), where their presence is frequently detected. The activity of the B-cell regulatory network may also be disrupted by the aberrant expression of inhibitory molecules. In particular, two multi-zinc finger transcription cofactors named ZNF423 and ZNF521 have been characterised as potent inhibitors of EBF1 and are emerging as potentially relevant contributors to the development of B-cell leukaemias. Here we will briefly review the current knowledge of these factors and discuss the importance of their functional cross talk with EBF1 in the development of B-cell malignancies.

Murphy SJ, Hart SN, Halling GC, et al.
Integrated Genomic Analysis of Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinomas Reveals Genomic Rearrangement Events as Significant Drivers of Disease.
Cancer Res. 2016; 76(3):749-61 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Many somatic mutations have been detected in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), leading to the identification of some key drivers of disease progression, but the involvement of large genomic rearrangements has often been overlooked. In this study, we performed mate pair sequencing (MPseq) on genomic DNA from 24 PDAC tumors, including 15 laser-captured microdissected PDAC and 9 patient-derived xenografts, to identify genome-wide rearrangements. Large genomic rearrangements with intragenic breakpoints altering key regulatory genes involved in PDAC progression were detected in all tumors. SMAD4, ZNF521, and FHIT were among the most frequently hit genes. Conversely, commonly reported genes with copy number gains, including MYC and GATA6, were frequently observed in the absence of direct intragenic breakpoints, suggesting a requirement for sustaining oncogenic function during PDAC progression. Integration of data from MPseq, exome sequencing, and transcriptome analysis of primary PDAC cases identified limited overlap in genes affected by both rearrangements and point mutations. However, significant overlap was observed in major PDAC-associated signaling pathways, with all PDAC exhibiting reduced SMAD4 expression, reduced SMAD-dependent TGFβ signaling, and increased WNT and Hedgehog signaling. The frequent loss of SMAD4 and FHIT due to genomic rearrangements strongly implicates these genes as key drivers of PDAC, thus highlighting the strengths of an integrated genomic and transcriptomic approach for identifying mechanisms underlying disease initiation and progression.

Hiratsuka T, Takei Y, Ohmori R, et al.
ZFP521 contributes to pre-B-cell lymphomagenesis through modulation of the pre-B-cell receptor signaling pathway.
Oncogene. 2016; 35(25):3227-38 [PubMed] Related Publications
ZFP521 was previously identified as a putative gene involved in induction of B-cell lymphomagenesis. However, the contribution of ZFP521 to lymphomagenesis has not been confirmed. In this study, we sought to elucidate the role of ZFP521 in B-cell lymphomagenesis. To this end, we used a retroviral insertion method to show that ZFP521 was a target of mutagenesis in pre-B-lymphoblastic lymphoma cells. The pre-B-cell receptor (pre-BCR) signaling molecules BLNK, BTK and BANK1 were positively regulated by the ZFP521 gene, leading to enhancement of the pre-BCR signaling pathway. In addition, c-myc and c-jun were upregulated following activation of ZFP521. Stimulation of pre-BCR signaling using anti-Vpreb antibodies caused aberrant upregulation of c-myc and c-jun and of Ccnd3, which encodes cyclin D3, thereby inducing the growth of pre-B cells. Stimulation with Vpreb affected the growth of pre-B cells, and addition of interleukin (IL)-7 receptor exerted competitive effects on pre-B-cell growth. Knockdown of BTK and BANK1, targets of ZFP521, suppressed the effects of Vpreb stimulation on cell growth. Furthermore, in human lymphoblastic lymphoma, analogous to pre-B-cell lymphoma in mice, the expression of ZNF521, the homolog of ZFP521 in humans, was upregulated. In conclusion, our data showed that the ZFP521 gene comprehensively induced pre-B-cell lymphomagenesis by modulating the pre-B-cell receptor signaling pathway.

Schmitz S, Bindea G, Albu RI, et al.
Cetuximab promotes epithelial to mesenchymal transition and cancer associated fibroblasts in patients with head and neck cancer.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(33):34288-99 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate if cetuximab induces epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) and activation of cancer associated fibroblast (CAF) in the tumors of patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).
METHODS: Cetuximab was administered for two weeks prior to surgery to 20 treatment-naïve patients. Five untreated patients were included as controls. Tumor biopsies were performed at baseline and before surgery. Gene expression profiles and quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis of the pre-and post-treatment biopsies were compared. To further investigate EMT and CAF, correlations between previously described EMT and CAF markers and our microarray data set were calculated.
RESULTS: Gene expression profile analyses and qRT-PCR showed that some of the genes modified by cetuximab were related to CAFs and EMT (ZNF521, CXCL12, ASPN, OLFML3, OLFM1, TWIST1, LEF1, ZEB1, FAP). We identified 2 patient clusters with different EMT and CAF characteristics. Whereas one cluster showed clear upregulation of expression of genes implicated in CAF and EMT including markers of embryologic pathways like NOTCH and Wnt, the other did not.
CONCLUSIONS: Even if EMT and CAFs are implicated in cetuximab resistance in pre-clinical models, we demonstrate for the first time that these molecular processes may occur clinically early on.

Spina R, Filocamo G, Iaccino E, et al.
Critical role of zinc finger protein 521 in the control of growth, clonogenicity and tumorigenic potential of medulloblastoma cells.
Oncotarget. 2013; 4(8):1280-92 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The stem cell-associated transcription co-factor ZNF521 has been implicated in the control of hematopoietic, osteo-adipogenic and neural progenitor cells. ZNF521 is highly expressed in cerebellum and in particular in the neonatal external granule layer that contains candidate medulloblastoma cells-of-origin, and in the majority of human medulloblastomas. Here we have explored its involvement in the control of human and murine medulloblastoma cells. The effect of ZNF521 on growth and tumorigenic potential of human medulloblastoma cell lines as well as primary Ptc1-/+ mouse medulloblastoma cells was investigated in a variety of in vitro and in vivo assays, by modulating its expression using lentiviral vectors carrying the ZNF521 cDNA, or shRNAs that silence its expression. Enforced overexpression of ZNF521 in DAOY medulloblastoma cells significantly increased their proliferation, growth as spheroids and ability to generate clones in single-cell cultures and semisolid media, and enhanced their migratory ability in wound-healing assays. Importantly, ZNF521-expressing cells displayed a greatly enhanced tumorigenic potential in nude mice. All these activities required the ZNF521 N-terminal motif that recruits the nucleosome remodeling and histone deacetylase complex, which might therefore represent an appealing therapeutic target. Conversely, silencing of ZNF521 in human UW228 medulloblastoma cells that display high baseline expression decreased their proliferation, clonogenicity, sphere formation and wound-healing ability. Similarly, Zfp521 silencing in mouse Ptc1-/+ medulloblastoma cells drastically reduced their growth and tumorigenic potential. Our data strongly support the notion that ZNF521, through the recruitment of the NuRD complex, contributes to the clonogenic growth, migration and tumorigenicity of medulloblastoma cells.

Yamasaki N, Miyazaki K, Nagamachi A, et al.
Identification of Zfp521/ZNF521 as a cooperative gene for E2A-HLF to develop acute B-lineage leukemia.
Oncogene. 2010; 29(13):1963-75 [PubMed] Related Publications
E2A-hepatic leukemia factor (HLF) is a chimeric protein found in B-lineage acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) with t(17;19). To analyze the leukemogenic process and to create model mice for t(17;19)-positive leukemia, we generated inducible knock-in (iKI) mice for E2A-HLF. Despite the induced expression of E2A-HLF in the hematopoietic tissues, no disease was developed during the long observation period, indicating that additional gene alterations are required to develop leukemia. To elucidate this process, E2A-HLF iKI and control littermates were subjected to retroviral insertional mutagenesis. Virus infection induced acute leukemias in E2A-HLF iKI mice with higher morbidity and mortality than in control mice. Inverse PCR detected three common integration sites specific for E2A-HLF iKI leukemic mice, which induced overexpression of zinc-finger transcription factors: growth factor independent 1 (Gfi1), zinc-finger protein subfamily 1A1 isoform a (Zfp1a1, also known as Ikaros) and zinc-finger protein 521 (Zfp521). Interestingly, tumors with Zfp521 integration exclusively showed B-lineage ALL, which corresponds to the phenotype of human t(17;19)-positive leukemia. In addition, ZNF521 (human counterpart of Zfp521) was found to be overexpressed in human leukemic cell lines harboring t(17;19). Moreover, both iKI for E2A-HLF and transgenic for Zfp521 mice frequently developed B-lineage ALL. These results indicate that a set of transcription factors promote leukemic transformation of E2A-HLF-expressing hematopoietic progenitors and suggest that aberrant expression of Zfp521/ZNF521 may be clinically relevant to t(17;19)-positive B-lineage ALL.

La Rocca R, Fulciniti M, Lakshmikanth T, et al.
Early hematopoietic zinc finger protein prevents tumor cell recognition by natural killer cells.
J Immunol. 2009; 182(8):4529-37 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Early hematopoietic zinc finger/zinc finger protein 521 (EHZF/ZNF521) is a novel zinc finger protein expressed in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells and is down-regulated during their differentiation. Its transcript is also abundant in some hematopoietic malignancies. Analysis of the changes in the antigenic profile of cells transfected with EHZF cDNA revealed up-regulation of HLA class I cell surface expression. This phenotypic change was associated with an increased level of HLA class I H chain, in absence of detectable changes in the expression of other Ag-processing machinery components. Enhanced resistance of target cells to NK cell-mediated cytotoxicity was induced by enforced expression of EHZF in the cervical carcinoma cell line HeLa and in the B lymphoblastoid cell line IM9. Preincubation of transfected cells with HLA class I Ag-specific mAb restored target cell susceptibility to NK cell-mediated lysis, indicating a specific role for HLA class I Ag up-regulation in the NK resistance induced by EHZF. A potential clinical significance of these findings is further suggested by the inverse correlation between EHZF and MHC class I expression levels, and autologous NK susceptibility of freshly explanted multiple myeloma cells.

Nebral K, König M, Harder L, et al.
Identification of PML as novel PAX5 fusion partner in childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Br J Haematol. 2007; 139(2):269-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
PAX5 encodes the B-cell lineage specific activator protein (BSAP) and is required for B-cell development and maintenance. In B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL), PAX5 is involved in several chromosome translocations that fuse the N-terminal paired DNA-binding domain of PAX5 with the C-terminal regulatory sequences of ETV6, FOXP1, ZNF521 or ELN. Herein, we describe the identification of a novel recurrent t(9;15)(p13;q24) in two cases of childhood ALL, which results in an in-frame fusion of PAX5 to the promyelocytic leukaemia (PML) gene. The putative PAX5-PML fusion gene encodes a chimaeric protein that retains the paired domain, the octapeptid and the partial homeodomain of PAX5, and virtually the whole PML protein. The steadily increasing number of PAX5 rearrangements suggests that PAX5 is not only crucial for B-cell lymphopoiesis but also for the development of B-cell malignancies.

Bond HM, Mesuraca M, Amodio N, et al.
Early hematopoietic zinc finger protein-zinc finger protein 521: a candidate regulator of diverse immature cells.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2008; 40(5):848-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
The early hematopoietic zinc finger protein/zinc finger protein 521 (EHZF/ZNF521) is a recently identified, 1131 amino-acid-long nuclear factor that contains 30 zinc fingers distributed in clusters throughout its sequence. A 13-AA motif, that binds to components of the nuclear remodelling and histone deacetylation (NuRD) complex and is conserved in several trascriptional co-repressors, is located at the amino-terminal end of the molecule. EHZF/ZNF521 expression is high in the most immature cells of the haematopoietic system and declines with differentiation. Its transcript is also abundant in brain, particularly in the cerebellum. Its murine counterpart, Evi3/Zfp521, is enriched in haematopoietic and neural stem cells, in cerebellar granule neuron precursors and in the developing striatum. Enforced expression of EHZF/ZNF521 in haematopoietic progenitors results in their expansion and in inhibition of differentiation. EHZF/ZNF521 is a member of the BMP signalling pathway and an inhibitor of the transcription factor OLF1/EBF1, implicated in the differentiation of neural progenitors and in the specification of the B-cell lineage. EHZF expression is observed in most acute myelogenous leukaemias and is particularly high in those with rearrangements of the MLL gene, where EHZF may contribute to the leukaemic phenotype. EHZF/ZNF521 is also abundant in medulloblastomas and other brain tumours. Taken together, the data available suggest a possible role for this factor in development, stem cell regulation and oncogenesis.

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Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. ZNF521, Cancer Genetics Web: http://www.cancer-genetics.org/ZNF521.htm Accessed:

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