BTB and CNC homology 1 (BACH1) is a transcription repressor that regulates multiple physiological processes, including intracellular heme homeostasis and immune responses. Increasing lines of evidence indicate that BACH1 reshapes metastasis and metabolism of human solid tumors. However, its potential roles in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) remain largely unknown. Here, we found that silencing BACH1 in MCL cells induced markedly cell-cycle arrest and cell apoptosis, whereas overexpression of BACH1 exhibited the opposite patterns. Increased BACH1 levels not only promoted tumor growth and dispersal in xenografts, but also conferred a long-term poor prognosis in patients with MCL. Interestingly, RNA sequencing analysis revealed noncanonical function of BACH1 in regulation of type I interferon (IFNI) response, DNA replication and repair, and cell cycle. Mechanistically, zinc finger and BTB domain containing 20 (ZBTB20) and HMG-box transcription factor 1 (HBP1) were for the first time identified as two novel downstream targets repressed by BACH1 in MCL cells. Further double-knockdown functional assays confirmed that loss of BACH1 induced ZBTB20-mediated IFNα production and HBP1-mediated cell-cycle arrest, indicating that BACH1-centered regulatory network may be a novel targetable vulnerability in MCL cells.

Implications:

BACH1 serves as a pleotropic regulator of tumor-intrinsic innate immune response and cell-cycle progression, disruption of which may offer a promising therapeutic strategy for MCL treatment.

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