ETV6 dependency in Ewing sarcoma by antagonism of EWS-FLI1-mediated enhancer activation

Yuan Gao, Xue Yan He, Xiaoli S. Wu, Yu Han Huang, Shushan Toneyan, Taehoon Ha, Jonathan J. Ipsaro, Peter K. Koo, Leemor Joshua-Tor, Kelly M. Bailey, Mikala Egeblad, Christopher R. Vakoc

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The EWS-FLI1 fusion oncoprotein deregulates transcription to initiate the paediatric cancer Ewing sarcoma. Here we used a domain-focused CRISPR screen to implicate the transcriptional repressor ETV6 as a unique dependency in this tumour. Using biochemical assays and epigenomics, we show that ETV6 competes with EWS-FLI1 for binding to select DNA elements enriched for short GGAA repeat sequences. Upon inactivating ETV6, EWS-FLI1 overtakes and hyper-activates these cis-elements to promote mesenchymal differentiation, with SOX11 being a key downstream target. We show that squelching of ETV6 with a dominant-interfering peptide phenocopies these effects and suppresses Ewing sarcoma growth in vivo. These findings reveal targeting of ETV6 as a strategy for neutralizing the EWS-FLI1 oncoprotein by reprogramming of genomic occupancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-308
Number of pages11
JournalNature Cell Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2023


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