Poly zinc finger protein ZFP14 suppresses lymphomagenesis and abnormal inflammatory response via the HOXA gene cluster

Shakur Mohibi, Mingyi Chen, Xinbin Chen, Jin Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Poly zinc finger proteins (ZFP) that contain a KRAB (Krüppel-associated box) domain represent the largest class of transcription factors in higher organisms, but their roles in development and pathogenesis are largely undefined. ZFP14 (also known as ZNF531) contains thirteen zinc fingers and is highly conserved across species. Notably, we found that ZFP14 is frequently down-regulated in a multitude of human cancers, which correlates with poor prognosis of patients. Since ZFP14 has never been characterized, we generated a Zfp14-deficient mouse model to investigate the role of ZFP14 in development and pathogenesis. We showed that the mice deficient in Zfp14 had a short lifespan and were prone to diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), hyperplasia in multiple organs, systemic chronic inflammation, liver steatosis, and pancreatitis. Additionally, several pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, IL18, and TNFα, were highly expressed in inflamed Zfp14−/− mice spleens, livers, kidneys and lungs. To determine the underlying mechanism, RNA-seq analysis was performed and showed that the loss of ZFP14 led to increased expression of inflammatory and tumor-promoting genes. Out of the various tumor-promoting genes upregulated by ZFP14 loss, the HOXA gene cluster, which is known to promote lymphomagenesis and conserved between mouse and human, is consistently induced by loss of ZFP14. Moreover, we showed that the HOXA gene expression was inversely correlated with that of ZFP14 in human cancer patients and higher HOXA1 expression was correlated with poor patient prognosis. Together, we postulate that ZFP14 suppresses lymphomagenesis and abnormal inflammatory response by maintaining proper expression of the HOXA gene cluster.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number166587
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • HOXA gene cluster
  • Inflammation
  • ZFP14

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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