Glycine-N-methyl transferase (GNMT) a tumor suppressor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) plays a crucial role in liver homeostasis. Its expression is downregulated in almost all the tumor tissues of HCC while the mechanism of this downregulation is not yet fully understood. Recently, we identified 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-beta-D-glucopyranoside (PGG) as a GNMT promoter enhancer compound in HCC. In this study, we aimed to delineate the mechanism by which PGG enhances GNMT expression and to investigate its effect on GNMT suppression in HCC. Microarray and pathway enrichment analysis revealed that MYC was a major target of PGG. PGG suppressed MYC mRNA and protein expression in Huh7 and Hep G2 cells in a dose- and time-dependent fashion. Furthermore, MYC expression was also reduced in xenograft tumors in PGG treated mice. Moreover, shRNA-mediated knocked-down or pharmacological inhibition of MYC resulted in a significant induction of GNMT promoter activity and endogenous GNMT mRNA expression in Huh7 cells. In contrast, overexpression of MYC significantly inhibited GNMT promoter activity and endogenous GNMT protein expression. In addition, antibodies against MYC effectively precipitated the human GNMT promoter in a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Lastly, GNMT expression was negatively correlated with MYC expression in human HCC samples. Interestingly, PGG not only inhibited MYC gene expression but also promoted MYC protein degradation through proteasome-independent pathways. This work reveals a novel anticancer mechanism of PGG via downregulation of MYC expression and establishes a therapeutic rationale for treatment of MYC overexpressing cancers using PGG. Our data also provide a novel mechanistic understanding of GNMT regulation through MYC in the pathogenesis of HCC.
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