Rôle de EZH2 et du complexe PRC2 dans l’homéostasie du cortex surrénalien

Abstract : Adrenals are endocrine glands allowing the stress response of the organism. While the medulla produces catecholamines, the adrenal cortex secretes mineralocorticoids in the glomerular zone, and glucocorticoids through cells in the fasciculated zone. These hormones are notably involved in hydromineral homeostasis, the immune response and pulmonary maturation during fetal life. Adrenal insufficiency can therefore be very deleterious in the absence of treatment. To maintain tissue integrity over the course of life and to better respond to the changing needs of the body, the adrenal cortex is in constant cell renewal. Lineage experiments have shown that this renewal is based on the recruitment of capsular progenitor cells and progenitors located in the outer part of the cortex. When mobilized, these progenitors differentiate into cells of the glomerular zone, which then migrate centripetally along the cortex and differentiate into cells of the fasciculated zone after lineage conversion, during their migration. This lineage conversion is orchestrated via a balance between the activation of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, imposing a glomerular identity, and PKA pathway, allowing fasciculated differentiation. Epigenetic factors play many important roles, from embryonic development to tumorigenesis, passing by tissue homeostasis. We have shown that methyltransferase EZH2 is the most overexpressed epigenetic factor in adrenocortical carcinomas and this overexpression is associated with cancer agressivity. EZH2 is the catalytic subunit of the multiprotein complex PRC2 that allow, among others things, the repression of the transcription of its target genes by posing the mark H3K27me3. The aim of my thesis was to indentify the putative physiological roles of EZH2 in the adrenal, never investigated yet.By developing a murine model of genetic invalidation of Ezh2 in the adrenal cortex, from the emergence of the adrenal anlagen during embryonic development, we have been able to demonstrate adrenocortical hypoplasia, resulting from a strong atrophy of the zona fasciculata, and associated with primary glucocorticoid insufficiency. Our analyses allowed us to demonstate the original and unexpected role of EZH2 in the controle of the PKA pathway, by repressing expression of this pathway inhibitors such as phosphodiesterases (PDE) and regulatory subunit Prkar1b. EZH2 thus regulate functionel zonation of adrenal cortex via its histone methyltransferase activity. On the contrary, we don’t observe marked alteration of the Wnt/β-catenin pathway, suggesting EZH2 is not essential for the control of this pathway in the adrenal. We could also show a dedifferenciation of cortical cells which, after the loss of Ezh2, exhibit progenitors identity by expressing adreno-gonadal marks as Gata4 and Wt1. This dedifferenciation is a natural phenomenon that appear with ageing and could be associated with processive decrease of Ezh2 expression in steroidogenic cells. All of these results, highlights a new function of Ezh2 in the control of the PKA signaling pathway and in the homeostasis of the adrenal gland.
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Mickael Mathieu. Rôle de EZH2 et du complexe PRC2 dans l’homéostasie du cortex surrénalien. Génétique humaine. Université Clermont Auvergne, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018CLFAC007⟩. ⟨tel-02003396v2⟩

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