ELK1

Gene Summary

Gene:ELK1; ELK1, ETS transcription factor
Location:Xp11.23
Summary:This gene is a member of the Ets family of transcription factors and of the ternary complex factor (TCF) subfamily. Proteins of the TCF subfamily form a ternary complex by binding to the the serum response factor and the serum response element in the promoter of the c-fos proto-oncogene. The protein encoded by this gene is a nuclear target for the ras-raf-MAPK signaling cascade. This gene produces multiple isoforms by using alternative translational start codons and by alternative splicing. Related pseudogenes have been identified on chromosomes 7 and 14. [provided by RefSeq, Mar 2012]
Databases:VEGA, OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ETS domain-containing protein Elk-1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 13 March, 2017

Ontology:

What does this gene/protein do?
Show (19)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1992-2017)
Graph generated 13 March 2017 using data from PubMed using criteria.

Literature Analysis

Mouse over the terms for more detail; many indicate links which you can click for dedicated pages about the topic.

  • Transcription
  • Base Sequence
  • Disease Progression
  • Messenger RNA
  • RTPCR
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Binding Sites
  • Transcription Factors
  • siRNA
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Cell Division
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Apoptosis
  • Transfection
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Tetradecanoylphorbol Acetate
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Cell Movement
  • Signal Transduction
  • ELK1
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MicroRNAs
  • Western Blotting
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • RNA Interference
  • Up-Regulation
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mutation
  • Phosphorylation
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Breast Cancer
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • X Chromosome
Tag cloud generated 13 March, 2017 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (2)

Data table showing topics related to specific cancers and associated disorders. Scope includes mutations and abnormal protein expression.

Note: list is not exhaustive. Number of papers are based on searches of PubMed (click on topic title for arbitrary criteria used).

Latest Publications: ELK1 (cancer-related)

Wu X, Xia M, Chen D, et al.
Profiling of downregulated blood-circulating miR-150-5p as a novel tumor marker for cholangiocarcinoma.
Tumour Biol. 2016; 37(11):15019-15029 [PubMed] Related Publications
Altered microRNA (miRNA) expression plays a role in cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) development; thus, detection of blood-circulating miRNAs could be useful as CCA markers. This study profiled serum miRNA levels in patients with primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and CCA and then assessed the role of miR-150-5p in CCA progression in vitro. Three samples were randomly selected from each of 50 sera of healthy controls, 30 PSC sera, and 28 CCA sera with matched bile samples for miRNA microarray profiling. The dysregulated miRNAs were confirmed using qRT-PCR, and miR-150-5p was selected for further in vitro and ex vivo studies. The miRNA microarray identified three dysregulated miRNAs in both CCA and PSC samples, while miR-150-5p level was consistently lower in CCA sera, bile, and tissues than in normal control and PSC sera (P < 0.05). Furthermore, levels of miR-150-5p were associated with serum carbohydrate antigen 19-9 (CA19-9) levels and CCA pathological grade. Bioinformatic Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and Gene Ontology (GO) analyses showed that miR-150-5p could regulate hand-full gene pathways, including cancer pathway (P < 0.01). However, overexpression of miR-150-5p inhibited proliferation, migration, and invasion capability of CCA cells (P < 0.05). Luciferase reporter assay showed that miR-150-5p bound to an oncogene Ets including gene-1 (ELK1), and Western blot data confirmed that miR-150-5p suppressed ELK1 expression in CCA cell lines. These results suggest that reduced miR-150-5p expression could contribute to CCA development and progression due to uncontrolled ELK1 expression. Thus, further study could evaluate miR-150-5p as a novel target and predictor for CCA prevention and treatment.

Deng Y, Wang Z, Zhang F, et al.
A Blockade of IGF Signaling Sensitizes Human Ovarian Cancer Cells to the Anthelmintic Niclosamide-Induced Anti-Proliferative and Anticancer Activities.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2016; 39(3):871-88 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Ovarian cancer is the most lethal gynecologic malignancy, and there is an unmet clinical need to develop new therapies. Although showing promising anticancer activity, Niclosamide may not be used as a monotherapy. We seek to investigate whether inhibiting IGF signaling potentiates Niclosamide's anticancer efficacy in human ovarian cancer cells.
METHODS: Cell proliferation and migration are assessed. Cell cycle progression and apoptosis are analyzed by flow cytometry. Inhibition of IGF signaling is accomplished by adenovirus-mediated expression of siRNAs targeting IGF-1R. Cancer-associated pathways are assessed using pathway-specific reporters. Subcutaneous xenograft model is used to determine anticancer activity.
RESULTS: We find that Niclosamide is highly effective on inhibiting cell proliferation, cell migration, and cell cycle progression, and inducing apoptosis in human ovarian cancer cells, possibly by targeting multiple signaling pathways involved in ELK1/SRF, AP-1, MYC/MAX and NFkB. Silencing IGF-1R exert a similar but weaker effect than that of Niclosamide's. However, silencing IGF-1R significantly sensitizes ovarian cancer cells to Niclosamide-induced anti-proliferative and anticancer activities both in vitro and in vivo.
CONCLUSION: Niclosamide as a repurposed anticancer agent may be more efficacious when combined with agents that target other signaling pathways such as IGF signaling in the treatment of human cancers including ovarian cancer.

Duan Q, Pang C, Chang N, et al.
Overexpression of PAD4 suppresses drug resistance of NSCLC cell lines to gefitinib through inhibiting Elk1-mediated epithelial-mesenchymal transition.
Oncol Rep. 2016; 36(1):551-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
It is reported that epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) could induce resistance in tumor cells, and knockdown of peptidylarginine deiminase IV (PAD4) induces the activity of EMT. However, the role of PAD4 in gefitinib‑acquired resistance in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) remains unclear. In this study, we aimed to investigate the role of PAD4 in the resistance of NSCLC to gefitinib. The cells resistant to gefitinib were established in accordance with the literature, and were derived from NSCLC cell lines HCC827 and H1650. Real-time quantitative PCR and western blot results showed that PAD4 was obviously downregulated in the cells resistant to gefitinib. Overexpression of PAD4 distinctly inhibited gefitinib resistance, whereas PAD4 downregulation had the opposite effect. Further data indicated that PAD4 upregulation could restrain EMT activity via controlling the expression of ETS-domain containing protein (Elk1). Conversely, inhibition of PAD4 showed the reverse function compared with PAD4 upregulation. Above all, our study showed that overexpression of PAD4 constrains the activity of EMT via suppressing Elk1 expression, and inhibits resistance of NSCLC to gefitinib.

Kawahara T, Aljarah AK, Shareef HK, et al.
Silodosin inhibits prostate cancer cell growth via ELK1 inactivation and enhances the cytotoxic activity of gemcitabine.
Prostate. 2016; 76(8):744-56 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Biological significance of ELK1, a transcriptional factor whose phosphorylation is necessary for c-fos proto-oncogene activation, in prostate cancer remains far from fully understood. In this study, we aim to investigate the role of ELK1 in tumor growth as well as the efficacy of a selective α1A-adrenergic blocker, silodosin, in ELK1 activity in prostate cancer cells.
METHODS: We first immunohistochemically determined the levels of phospho-ELK1 (p-ELK1) expression in radical prostatectomy specimens. We then assessed the effects of ELK1 knockdown via short hairpin RNA and silodosin on cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in prostate cancer lines.
RESULTS: The levels of p-ELK1 expression were significantly higher in carcinoma than in benign (P < 0.001) or high-grade prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia (HGPIN) (P = 0.002) as well as in HGPIN than in benign (P < 0.001). Kaplan-Meier and log-rank tests revealed that moderate-strong positivity of p-ELK1 in carcinomas tended to correlate with biochemical recurrence after radical prostatectomy (P = 0.098). In PC3 and DU145 expressing ELK1 (mRNA/protein) but no androgen receptor (AR), ELK1 silencing resulted in considerable decreases in the expression of c-fos as well as in cell migration/invasion and matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression, but not in cell viability. Silodosin treatment reduced the expression/activity of ELK1 in these cells as well as the viability of AR-positive LNCaP and C4-2 cells and the migration of both AR-positive and AR-negative cells, but not the viability of AR-negative or ELK1-negative cells. Interestingly, silodosin significantly increased sensitivity to gemcitabine, but not to cisplatin or docetaxel, even in AR-negative cells.
CONCLUSIONS: ELK1 is likely to be activated in prostate cancer cells and promote tumor progression. Furthermore, silodosin that inactivates ELK1 in prostate cancer cells not only inhibits their growth but also enhances the cytotoxic activity of gemcitabine. Thus, ELK1 inhibition has the potential of being a therapeutic approach for prostate cancer.

Hollander D, Donyo M, Atias N, et al.
A network-based analysis of colon cancer splicing changes reveals a tumorigenesis-favoring regulatory pathway emanating from ELK1.
Genome Res. 2016; 26(4):541-53 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Splicing aberrations are prominent drivers of cancer, yet the regulatory pathways controlling them are mostly unknown. Here we develop a method that integrates physical interaction, gene expression, and alternative splicing data to construct the largest map of transcriptomic and proteomic interactions leading to cancerous splicing aberrations defined to date, and identify driver pathways therein. We apply our method to colon adenocarcinoma and non-small-cell lung carcinoma. By focusing on colon cancer, we reveal a novel tumor-favoring regulatory pathway involving the induction of the transcription factor MYC by the transcription factor ELK1, as well as the subsequent induction of the alternative splicing factor PTBP1 by both. We show that PTBP1 promotes specific RAC1,NUMB, and PKM splicing isoforms that are major triggers of colon tumorigenesis. By testing the pathway's activity in patient tumor samples, we find ELK1,MYC, and PTBP1 to be overexpressed in conjunction with oncogenic KRAS mutations, and show that these mutations increase ELK1 levels via the RAS-MAPK pathway. We thus illuminate, for the first time, a full regulatory pathway connecting prevalent cancerous mutations to functional tumor-inducing splicing aberrations. Our results demonstrate our method is applicable to different cancers to reveal regulatory pathways promoting splicing aberrations.

Liu CY, Hu MH, Hsu CJ, et al.
Lapatinib inhibits CIP2A/PP2A/p-Akt signaling and induces apoptosis in triple negative breast cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2016; 7(8):9135-49 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
We tested the efficacy of lapatinib, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor which interrupts the HER2 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathways, in a panel of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells, and examined the drug mechanism. Lapatinib showed an anti-proliferative effect in HCC 1937, MDA-MB-468, and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Lapatinib induced significant apoptosis and inhibited CIP2A and p-Akt in a dose and time-dependent manner in the three TNBC cell lines. Overexpression of CIP2A reduced lapatinib-induced apoptosis in MDA-MB-468 cells. In addition, lapatinib increased PP2A activity (in relation to CIP2A inhibition). Moreover, lapatinib-induced apoptosis and p-Akt downregulation was attenuated by PP2A antagonist okadaic acid. Furthermore, lapatinib indirectly decreased CIP2A transcription by disturbing the binding of Elk1 to the CIP2A promoter. Importantly, lapatinib showed anti-tumor activity in mice bearing MDA-MB-468 xenograft tumors, and suppressed CIP2A as well as p-Akt in these xenografted tumors. In summary, inhibition of CIP2A determines the effects of lapatinib-induced apoptosis in TNBC cells. In addition to being a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of HER2 and EGFR, lapatinib also inhibits CIP2A/PP2A/p-Akt signaling in TNBC cells.

Kent OA, Mendell JT, Rottapel R
Transcriptional Regulation of miR-31 by Oncogenic KRAS Mediates Metastatic Phenotypes by Repressing RASA1.
Mol Cancer Res. 2016; 14(3):267-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Activating KRAS mutations are nearly ubiquitous in pancreatic cancer occurring in more than 95% of clinical cases. miRNAs are small noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression by binding sequences within the 3'UTRs of target mRNAs. An integral role for miRNAs in cancer pathogenesis is well established; however, the role of miRNAs in KRAS-mediated tumorigenesis is poorly characterized. Here it is demonstrated that expression of miR-31 is coupled to the expression of oncogenic KRAS and activity of the MAPK pathway. miR-31 is highly expressed in patient-derived xenografts and a panel of pancreatic and colorectal cancer cells harboring activating KRAS mutations. The miR-31 host gene is a large noncoding RNA that correlates with miR-31 expression and enabled identification of the putative miR-31 promoter. Using luciferase reporters, a minimal RAS-responsive miR-31 promoter was found to drive robust luciferase activity dependent on expression of mutant KRAS and the transcription factor ELK1. Furthermore, ELK1 interacts directly with the endogenous miR-31 promoter in a MAPK-dependent manner. Expression of enforced miR-31 significantly enhanced invasion and migration of multiple pancreatic cancer cells resulting from the activation of RhoA through regulation of the miR-31 target gene RASA1. Importantly, acute knockdown of RASA1 phenocopied enforced miR-31 expression on the migratory behavior of pancreatic cancer cells through increased RhoA activation.
IMPLICATIONS: Oncogenic KRAS can activate Rho through the miR-31-mediated regulation of RASA1 indicating miR-31 acts as a KRAS effector to modulate invasion and migration in pancreatic cancer.

Cea M, Cagnetta A, Adamia S, et al.
Evidence for a role of the histone deacetylase SIRT6 in DNA damage response of multiple myeloma cells.
Blood. 2016; 127(9):1138-50 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Multiple myeloma (MM) is characterized by a highly unstable genome, with aneuploidy observed in nearly all patients. The mechanism causing this karyotypic instability is largely unknown, but recent observations have correlated these abnormalities with dysfunctional DNA damage response. Here, we show that the NAD(+)-dependent deacetylase SIRT6 is highly expressed in MM cells, as an adaptive response to genomic stability, and that high SIRT6 levels are associated with adverse prognosis. Mechanistically, SIRT6 interacts with the transcription factor ELK1 and with the ERK signaling-related gene. By binding to their promoters and deacetylating H3K9 at these sites, SIRT6 downregulates the expression of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway genes, MAPK signaling, and proliferation. In addition, inactivation of ERK2/p90RSK signaling triggered by high SIRT6 levels increases DNA repair via Chk1 and confers resistance to DNA damage. Using genetic and biochemical studies in vitro and in human MM xenograft models, we show that SIRT6 depletion both enhances proliferation and confers sensitization to DNA-damaging agents. Our findings therefore provide insights into the functional interplay between SIRT6 and DNA repair mechanisms, with implications for both tumorigenesis and the treatment of MM.

Luo X, Yang L, Xiao L, et al.
Grifolin directly targets ERK1/2 to epigenetically suppress cancer cell metastasis.
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(40):42704-16 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Grifolin, a secondary metabolite isolated from the fresh fruiting bodies of the mushroom Albatrellus confluens, has been reported by us and others to display potent antitumor effects. However, the molecular target of grifolin has not been identified and the underlying mechanism of action is not fully understood. Here, we report that the ERK1/2 protein kinases are direct molecular targets of grifolin. Molecular modeling, affinity chromatography and fluorescence quenching analyses showed that grifolin directly binds to ERK1/2. And in vitro and ex vivo kinase assay data further demonstrated that grifolin inhibited the kinase activities of ERK1/2. We found that grifolin suppressed adhesion, migration and invasion of high-metastatic cancer cells. The inhibitory effect of grifolin against tumor metastasis was further confirmed in a metastatic mouse model. We found that grifolin decreased phosphorylation of Elk1 at Ser383, and the protein as well as the mRNA level of DNMT1 was also down-regulated. By luciferase reporter and ChIP assay analyses, we confirmed that grifolin inhibited the transcription activity of Elk1 as well as its binding to the dnmt1 promoter region. Moreover, we report that significant increases in the mRNA levels of Timp2 and pten were induced by grifolin. Thus, our data suggest that grifolin exerts its anti-tumor activity by epigenetic reactivation of metastasis inhibitory-related genes through ERK1/2-Elk1-DNMT1 signaling. Grifolin may represent a promising therapeutic lead compound for intervention of cancer metastasis, and it may also be useful as an ERK1/2 kinase inhibitor as well as an epigenetic agent to further our understanding of DNMT1 function.

Khan FH, Pandian V, Ramraj S, et al.
Reorganization of metastamiRs in the evolution of metastatic aggressive neuroblastoma cells.
BMC Genomics. 2015; 16:501 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: MetastamiRs have momentous clinical relevance and have been correlated with disease progression in many tumors. In this study, we identified neuroblastoma metastamiRs exploiting unique mouse models of favorable and high-risk metastatic human neuroblastoma. Further, we related their deregulation to the modulation of target proteins and established their association with clinical outcomes.
RESULTS: Whole genome miRNA microarray analysis identified 74 metastamiRs across the manifold of metastatic tumors. RT-qPCR on select miRNAs validated profile expression. Results from bio-informatics across the ingenuity pathway, miRCancer, and literature data-mining endorsed the expression of these miRNAs in multiple tumor systems and showed their role in metastasis, identifying them as metastamiRs. Immunoblotting and TMA-IHC analyses revealed alterations in the expression/phosphorylation of metastamiRs' targets, including ADAMTS-1, AKT1/2/3, ASK1, AURKβ, Birc1, Birc2, Bric5, β-CATENIN, CASP8, CD54, CDK4, CREB, CTGF, CXCR4, CYCLIN-D1, EGFR, ELK1, ESR1, CFOS, FOSB, FRA, GRB10, GSK3β, IL1α, JUND, kRAS, KRTAP1, MCP1, MEGF10, MMP2, MMP3, MMP9, MMP10, MTA2, MYB, cMYC, NF2, NOS3, P21, pP38, PTPN3, CLEAVED PARP, PKC, SDF-1β, SEMA3D, SELE, STAT3, TLR3, TNFα, TNFR1, and VEGF in aggressive cells ex vivo and in a manifold of metastatic tumors in vivo. miRNA mimic (hsa-miR-125b, hsa-miR-27b, hsa-miR-93, hsa-miR-20a) and inhibitor (hsa-miR-1224-3p, hsa-miR-1260) approach for select miRNAs revealed the direct influence of the altered metastamiRs in the regulation of identified protein targets. Clinical outcome association analysis with the validated metastamiRs' targets corresponded strongly with poor overall and relapse-free survival.
CONCLUSIONS: For the first time, these results identified a comprehensive list of neuroblastoma metastamiRs, related their deregulation to altered expression of protein targets, and established their association with poor clinical outcomes. The identified set of distinctive neuroblastoma metastamiRs could serve as potential candidates for diagnostic markers for the switch from favorable to high-risk metastatic disease.

Vivacqua A, De Marco P, Santolla MF, et al.
Estrogenic gper signaling regulates mir144 expression in cancer cells and cancer-associated fibroblasts (cafs).
Oncotarget. 2015; 6(18):16573-87 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non coding RNA molecules that play a crucial role in several pathophysiological conditions, including cancer. The stimulation of hormone-sensitive tumors by estrogens are mediated by estrogen receptor (ER)α and G protein estrogen receptor (GPER). Previous studies have reported that ERα regulates miRNA expression, while this ability of GPER remains to be elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that in SkBr3 breast cancer and HepG2 hepatocarcinoma cells, 17β-estradiol (E2) and the selective GPER ligand G-1 induce miR144 expression through GPER and the involvement of the PI3K/ERK1/2/Elk1 transduction pathway. Moreover, we show that E2 and G-1 down-regulate through miR144 the onco-suppressor Runx1 and increase cell cycle progression. The capability of E2 and G-1 in triggering the induction of miR144 and the down-regulation of Runx1 was also confirmed in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) that are main components of the tumor microenvironment driving cancer progression. Further confirming these results, Runx1 protein levels were found decreased in tumor xenografts upon G-1 treatment. On the basis of our findings miR144 and Runx1 may be included among the oncotargets of GPER action. Moreover, the present data provide new insights regarding the ability of estrogens to trigger the GPER/miR144/Runx1 transduction pathway toward the stimulation of cancer progression.

Yue CH, Huang CY, Tsai JH, et al.
MZF-1/Elk-1 Complex Binds to Protein Kinase Cα Promoter and Is Involved in Hepatocellular Carcinoma.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(5):e0127420 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
In this study, the molecular mechanism of protein kinase C alpha (PKCα) gene regulation in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) involving Ets-like protein-1 (Elk-1) and myeloid zinc finger-1 (MZF-1) was investigated. The luciferase reporter assay results revealed that the presence of both MZF-1 and Elk-1 significantly contributed to the upregulation of PKCα gene transcription activity, and the transcriptional activity decreased when the transfection included a DNA-binding-deficient (∆DBD) gene vector of either MZF-1 or Elk-1 DNA-binding deficiency (MZF-1∆DBD or Elk-1∆DBD), thereby indicating that the enhanced expression of PKCα was caused by the binding of MZF-1 and/or Elk-1 with the PKCα promoter. We investigated MZF-1 and Elk-1 to determine whether they bind to each other. The results of immunoprecipitation (IP), Co-IP, chromatin IP (ChIP), and Re-ChIP analyses indicated that Elk-1 can directly bind to the N-terminal region of MZF-1 and MZF-1 can directly bind to the C-terminal region of Elk-1 to form a complex before attaching to the PKCα promoter. Furthermore, when MZF-1∆DBD or Elk-1∆DBD was added to the cells, PKCα expression decreased, and cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and tumorigenicity also decreased. These findings suggest that PKCα expression in HCC could be stimulated by the formation of MZF-1/Elk-1 complex, which directly binds to the PKCα promoter.

Pérez-Gómez E, Andradas C, Blasco-Benito S, et al.
Role of cannabinoid receptor CB2 in HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer.
J Natl Cancer Inst. 2015; 107(6):djv077 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Pharmacological activation of cannabinoid receptors elicits antitumoral responses in different cancer models. However, the biological role of these receptors in tumor physio-pathology is still unknown.
METHODS: We analyzed CB2 cannabinoid receptor protein expression in two series of 166 and 483 breast tumor samples operated in the University Hospitals of Kiel, Tübingen, and Freiburg between 1997 and 2010 and CB2 mRNA expression in previously published DNA microarray datasets. The role of CB2 in oncogenesis was studied by generating a mouse line that expresses the human V-Erb-B2 Avian Erythroblastic Leukemia Viral Oncogene Homolog 2 (HER2) rat ortholog (neu) and lacks CB2 and by a variety of biochemical and cell biology approaches in human breast cancer cells in culture and in vivo, upon modulation of CB2 expression by si/shRNAs and overexpression plasmids. CB2-HER2 molecular interaction was studied by colocalization, coimmunoprecipitation, and proximity ligation assays. Statistical tests were two-sided.
RESULTS: We show an association between elevated CB2 expression in HER2+ breast tumors and poor patient prognosis (decreased overall survival, hazard ratio [HR] = 0.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.09 to 0.71, P = .009) and higher probability to suffer local recurrence (HR = 0.09, 95% CI = 0.049 to 0.54, P = .003) and to develop distant metastases (HR = 0.33, 95% CI = 0.13 to 0.75, P = .009). We also demonstrate that genetic inactivation of CB2 impairs tumor generation and progression in MMTV-neu mice. Moreover, we show that HER2 upregulates CB2 expression by activating the transcription factor ELK1 via the ERK cascade and that an increased CB2 expression activates the HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling at the level of the tyrosine kinase c-SRC. Finally, we show HER2 and CB2 form heteromers in cancer cells.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings reveal an unprecedented role of CB2 as a pivotal regulator of HER2 pro-oncogenic signaling in breast cancer, and they suggest that CB2 may be a biomarker with prognostic value in these tumors.

Aguilar-Martinez E, Morrisroe C, Sharrocks AD
The ubiquitin ligase UBE3A dampens ERK pathway signalling in HPV E6 transformed HeLa cells.
PLoS One. 2015; 10(3):e0119366 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Signalling through the ERK MAP kinase pathway plays an important role in many biological processes and it is often deregulated in disease states such as cancer. One major effect of MAP kinase signalling is to promote gene expression through the phosphorylation and activation of transcription factors like ELK1. ELK1 in turn controls the activity of immediate-early genes such as FOS. Here we have used ELK1 activation in HeLa cells as a read out to conduct a genome-wide siRNA screen to identify negative regulators of ERK-mediated immediate-early gene activation. One of the candidates that we identified was the E3 ubiquitin ligase UBE3A/E6-AP. Reductions in UBE3A levels cause increased basal levels of ERK activity, a loss of growth factor-mediated ERK activation and concomitant defects in immediate-early gene expression. Thus, UBE3A acts to dampen down basal level ERK activation and to prime the pathway for growth factor-mediated activation. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that UBE3A functions in HeLa cells through its binding partner, HPV18 E6 protein and the E6 target protein p53. Loss of either E6 or p53 blocks the effect of UBE3A depletion on ERK pathway signalling, indicating that in the context of oncogenic viral protein expression, UBE3A plays an important role in negating the consequences of p53 activation on ERK pathway signalling.

Kim HR, Lee HN, Lim K, et al.
15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2 induces expression of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase through Elk-1 activation in human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells.
Mutat Res. 2014; 768:6-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Overproduction of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) has been reported to be implicated in carcinogenesis. The intracellular level of PGE2 is maintained not only by its biosynthesis, but also by inactivation/degradation. 15-Hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH) is the key enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of oncogenic PGE2 to a biologically inactive keto metabolite. In the present study, we demonstrate that 15-deoxy-Δ(12,14)-prostaglandin J2 (15 d-PGJ2), one of the terminal products of cyclooxygenase-2, updregulates the expression and the activity of 15-PGDH in human breast cancer MDA-MB-231 cells. By using deletion constructs of the 15-PGDH promoter, we have found that E-twenty six (Ets) is the most essential determinant for 15-PGDH induction. 15 d-PGJ2 induced phosphorylation of Elk-1, one of Ets transcription factor family members, in the nucleus. Knockdown of Elk-1 abolished the ability of 15 d-PGJ2 to upregulate 15-PGDH expression. Furthermore, 15 d-PGJ2-mediated activation of Elk-1 was found to be dependent on activation of extracellular-signal related kinase (ERK) 1/2. Treatment of U0126, a pharmacological inhibitor of MEK1/2-ERK, abolished phosphorylation and DNA binding of Elk-1 as well as 15-PGDH induction in 15 d-PGJ2-treated MDA-MB-231 cells. Moreover, 15 d-PGJ2 generated reactive oxygen species (ROS), which contribute to the expression of 15-PGDH as well as phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Elk-1. 15 d-PGJ2 inhibited the migration of MDA-MB-231 cells, which was attenuated by transient transfection with 15-PGDH siRNA. Taken together, these findings suggest that 15 d-PGJ2 induces the expression of 15-PGDH through ROS-mediated activation of ERK1/2 and subsequently Elk-1 in the MDA-MB-231 cells, which may contribute to tumor suppressive activity of this cyclopentenone prostaglandin.

Shan J, Donelan W, Hayner JN, et al.
MAPK signaling triggers transcriptional induction of cFOS during amino acid limitation of HepG2 cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015; 1853(3):539-48 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Amino acid (AA) deprivation in mammalian cells activates a collection of signaling cascades known as the AA response (AAR), which is characterized by transcriptional induction of stress-related genes, including FBJ murine osteosarcoma viral oncogene homolog (cFOS). The present study established that the signaling mechanism underlying the AA-dependent transcriptional regulation of the cFOS gene in HepG2 human hepatocellular carcinoma cells is independent of the classic GCN2-eIF2-ATF4 pathway. Instead, a RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK cascade mediates AAR signaling to the cFOS gene. Increased cFOS transcription is observed from 4-24 h after AAR-activation, exhibiting little or no overlap with the rapid and transient increase triggered by the well-known serum response. Furthermore, serum is not required for the AA-responsiveness of the cFOS gene and no phosphorylation of promoter-bound serum response factor (SRF) is observed. The ERK-phosphorylated transcription factor E-twenty six-like (p-ELK1) is increased in its association with the cFOS promoter after activation of the AAR. This research identified cFOS as a target of the AAR and further highlights the importance of AA-responsive MAPK signaling in HepG2 cells.

Jilg CA, Ketscher A, Metzger E, et al.
PRK1/PKN1 controls migration and metastasis of androgen-independent prostate cancer cells.
Oncotarget. 2014; 5(24):12646-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The major threat in prostate cancer is the occurrence of metastases in androgen-independent tumor stage, for which no causative cure is available. Here we show that metastatic behavior of androgen-independent prostate tumor cells requires the protein-kinase-C-related kinase (PRK1/PKN1) in vitro and in vivo. PRK1 regulates cell migration and gene expression through its kinase activity, but does not affect cell proliferation. Transcriptome and interactome analyses uncover that PRK1 regulates expression of migration-relevant genes by interacting with the scaffold protein sperm-associated antigen 9 (SPAG9/JIP4). SPAG9 and PRK1 colocalize in human cancer tissue and are required for p38-phosphorylation and cell migration. Accordingly, depletion of either ETS domain-containing protein Elk-1 (ELK1), an effector of p38-signalling or p38 depletion hinders cell migration and changes expression of migration-relevant genes as observed upon PRK1-depletion. Importantly, a PRK1 inhibitor prevents metastases in mice, showing that the PRK1-pathway is a promising target to hamper prostate cancer metastases in vivo. Here we describe a novel mechanism controlling the metastatic behavior of PCa cells and identify PRK1 as a promising therapeutic target to treat androgen-independent metastatic prostate cancer.

D'Amato L, Dell'Aversana C, Conte M, et al.
ARHGEF3 controls HDACi-induced differentiation via RhoA-dependent pathways in acute myeloid leukemias.
Epigenetics. 2015; 10(1):6-18 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Altered expression and activity of histone deacetylases (HDACs) have been correlated with tumorigenesis. Inhibitors of HDACs (HDACi) induce acetylation of histone and non-histone proteins affecting gene expression, cell cycle progression, cell migration, terminal differentiation and cell death. Here, we analyzed the regulation of ARHGEF3, a RhoA-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factor, by the HDACi MS275 (entinostat). MS275 is a well-known benzamide-based HDACi, which induces differentiation of the monoblastic-like human histiocytic lymphoma cell line U937 to monocytes/macrophages. Incubation of U937 cells with MS275 resulted in an up regulation of ARHGEF3, followed by a significant enhancement of the marker of macrophage differentiation CD68. ARHGEF3 protein is primarily nuclear, but MS275 treatment rapidly induced its translocation into the cytoplasm. ARHGEF3 cytoplasmic localization is associated with activation of the RhoA/Rho-associated Kinase (ROCK) pathway. In addition to cytoskeletal rearrangements orchestrated by RhoA, we showed that ARHGEF3/RhoA-dependent signals involve activation of SAPK/JNK and then Elk1 transcription factor. Importantly, MS275-induced CD68 expression was blocked by exposure of U937 cells to exoenzyme C3 transferase and Y27632, inhibitors of Rho and ROCK respectively. Moreover, ARHGEF3 silencing prevented RhoA activation leading to a reduction in SAPK/JNK phosphorylation, Elk1 activation and CD68 expression, suggesting a crucial role for ARHGEF3 in myeloid differentiation. Taken together, our results demonstrate that ARHGEF3 modulates acute myeloid leukemia differentiation through activation of RhoA and pathways directly controlled by small GTPase family proteins. The finding that GEF protein modulation by HDAC inhibition impacts on cell differentiation may be important for understanding the antitumor mechanism(s) by which HDACi treatment stimulates differentiation in cancer.

Rupaimoole R, Wu SY, Pradeep S, et al.
Hypoxia-mediated downregulation of miRNA biogenesis promotes tumour progression.
Nat Commun. 2014; 5:5202 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Cancer-related deregulation of miRNA biogenesis has been suggested, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here we report a previously unrecognized effect of hypoxia in the downregulation of Drosha and Dicer in cancer cells that leads to dysregulation of miRNA biogenesis and increased tumour progression. We show that hypoxia-mediated downregulation of Drosha is dependent on ETS1/ELK1 transcription factors. Moreover, mature miRNA array and deep sequencing studies reveal altered miRNA maturation in cells under hypoxic conditions. At a functional level, this phenomenon results in increased cancer progression in vitro and in vivo, and data from patient samples are suggestive of miRNA biogenesis downregulation in hypoxic tumours. Rescue of Drosha by siRNAs targeting ETS1/ELK1 in vivo results in significant tumour regression. These findings provide a new link in the mechanistic understanding of global miRNA downregulation in the tumour microenvironment.

Liu Z, Zhang J, Gao Y, et al.
Large-scale characterization of DNA methylation changes in human gastric carcinomas with and without metastasis.
Clin Cancer Res. 2014; 20(17):4598-612 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
PURPOSE: Metastasis is the leading cause of death for gastric carcinoma. An epigenetic biomarker panel for predicting gastric carcinoma metastasis could have significant clinical impact on the care of patients with gastric carcinoma. The main purpose of this study is to characterize the methylation differences between gastric carcinomas with and without metastasis.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Genome-wide DNA methylation profiles between 4 metastatic and 4 nonmetastatic gastric carcinomas and their surgical margins (SM) were analyzed using methylated-CpG island amplification with microarray. The methylation states of 73 candidate genes were further analyzed in patients with gastric carcinoma in a discovery cohort (n=108) using denatured high performance liquid chromatography, bisulfite-sequencing, and MethyLight. The predictive values of potential metastasis-methylation biomarkers were validated in cohorts of patients with gastric carcinoma in China (n=330), Japan (n=129), and Korea (n=153).
RESULTS: The gastric carcinoma genome showed significantly higher proportions of hypomethylation in the promoter and exon-1 regions, as well as increased hypermethylation of intragenic fragments when compared with SMs. Significant differential methylation was validated in the CpG islands of 15 genes (P<0.05) and confirmed using bisulfite sequencing. These genes included BMP3, BNIP3, CDKN2A, ECEL1, ELK1, GFRA1, HOXD10, KCNH1, PSMD10, PTPRT, SIGIRR, SRF, TBX5, TFPI2, and ZNF382. Methylation changes of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 resulted in up- or downregulation of their transcription. Most importantly, the prevalence of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 methylation alterations was consistently and coordinately associated with gastric carcinoma metastasis and the patients' overall survival throughout discovery and validation cohorts in China, Japan, and Korea.
CONCLUSION: Methylation changes of GFRA1, SRF, and ZNF382 may be a potential biomarker set for prediction of gastric carcinoma metastasis.

Tang YQ, Jaganath IB, Manikam R, Sekaran SD
Inhibition of MAPKs, Myc/Max, NFκB, and hypoxia pathways by Phyllanthus prevents proliferation, metastasis and angiogenesis in human melanoma (MeWo) cancer cell line.
Int J Med Sci. 2014; 11(6):564-77 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Melanoma is the most fatal form of skin cancer. Different signalling pathways and proteins will be differentially expressed to pace with the tumour growth. Thus, these signalling molecules and proteins are become potential targets to halt the progression of cancer. The present works were attempted to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of anticancer effects of Phyllanthus (P.amarus, P.niruri, P.urinaria and P.watsonii) on skin melanoma, MeWo cells.
METHODS: The ten cancer-related pathways reporter array was performed by transfection of plasmid construct of transcription factor-responsive reporter of each pathway in MeWo cells. The affected pathways in MeWo cells after treatment of Phyllanthus extracts were determined using luciferase assay. Western blot, 2D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry analysis were performed to identity and confirm the affected proteins and signalling molecules in treated cells.
RESULTS: The ten-pathway reporter array revealed five different cancer-related signalling pathways were altered by Phyllanthus species in MeWo cells; NFκB, Myc/Max, Hypoxia, MAPK/ERK and MAPK/JNK (p<0.05). Western blot revealed that their intracellular signalling molecules including pan-Ras, c-Raf, RSK, phospho-Elk1, c-myc, Akt, HIF-1α, Bcl-2, and VEGF were down-regulated with concurrent of up-regulation; Bax, phospho-JNK-1/2 and phospho-GSK3β, in MeWo cells upon Phyllanthus treatment (p<0.05). Proteomics-based approach was performed and MS/MS results revealed that 52 differential expressed proteins were identified (p<0.05) and involved in tumour growth, metastasis, apoptosis, glycogenesis and glycolysis, angiogenesis, protein synthesis and energy metabolism.
CONCLUSION: This study provides insight into the regulation on multiple survival signalling pathways by Phyllanthus in melanoma and might be a therapeutic target for cancer treatment.

Chen CC, Chen LL, Hsu YT, et al.
The endothelin-integrin axis is involved in macrophage-induced breast cancer cell chemotactic interactions with endothelial cells.
J Biol Chem. 2014; 289(14):10029-44 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Elevated macrophage infiltration in tumor tissues is associated with breast cancer metastasis. Cancer cell migration/invasion toward angiogenic microvasculature is a key step in metastatic spread. We therefore studied how macrophages stimulated breast cancer cell interactions with endothelial cells. Macrophages produced cytokines, such as interleukin-8 and tumor necrosis factor-α, to stimulate endothelin (ET) and ET receptor (ETR) expression in breast cancer cells and human umbilical vascular endothelial cells (HUVECs). ET-1 was induced to a greater extent from HUVECs than from breast cancer cells, resulting in a density difference that facilitated cancer cell chemotaxis toward HUVECs. Macrophages also stimulated breast cancer cell adhesion to HUVECs and transendothelial migration, which were repressed by ET-1 antibody or ETR inhibitors. The ET axis induced integrins, such as αV and β1, and their counterligands, such as intercellular adhesion molecule-2 and P-selectin, in breast cancer cells and HUVECs, and antibodies against these integrins efficiently suppressed macrophage-stimulated breast cancer cell interactions with HUVECs. ET-1 induced Ets-like kinase-1 (Elk-1), signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3), and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) phosphorylation in breast cancer cells. The use of inhibitors to prevent their phosphorylation or ectopic overexpression of dominant-negative IκBα perturbed ET-1-induced integrin αV and integrin β1 expression. The physical associations of these three transcriptional factors with the gene promoters of the two integrins were furthermore evidenced by a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Finally, our mouse orthotopic tumor model revealed an ET axis-mediated lung metastasis of macrophage-stimulated breast cancer cells, suggesting that the ET axis was involved in macrophage-enhanced breast cancer cell endothelial interactions.

Zhang X, Zhang B, Gao J, et al.
Regulation of the microRNA 200b (miRNA-200b) by transcriptional regulators PEA3 and ELK-1 protein affects expression of Pin1 protein to control anoikis.
J Biol Chem. 2013; 288(45):32742-52 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
MicroRNA (miRNA) 200s regulate E-cadherin by directly targeting ZEB1/ZEB2, which are transcriptional repressors of E-cadherin. Decreased expression of E-cadherin results in cancer cells losing interaction with the extracellular matrix and detaching from the primary tumor. Normally, cells will undergo anoikis after losing interaction with the extracellular matrix. Cancer cells must, therefore, possess the ability to resist anoikis during the process of metastasis. Here we show that miRNA-200b regulates anoikis by directly targeting the 3' UTR of Pin1 mRNA and regulating Pin1 expression at the translational level. We found that down-regulation of miRNA-200b promotes cancer cells survival during metastasis, and the homeless state of these cells resulted in decreased expression of miRNA-200b in the MCF-7 cell line. We also found that expression of miRNA-200b is down-regulated in human breast cancer during lymph node metastasis, which has a significant negative correlation with Pin1 expression. Two members of the ETS (E-26) family (PEA3 and ELK-1) regulate the expression of miRNA-200b. PEA3 promotes the expression of miRNA-200b, and ELK-1 is a transcriptional repressor of miRNA-200b. In addition, miRNA-200b regulates the activity of PEA3 and ELK-1 via the Pin1-pERK pathway and forms self-regulated feedback loops. This study characterizes the role of miRNA-200b in the regulation of anoikis and demonstrates the regulation of its own expression in the process of metastasis.

Wang LN, Chen WW, Zhang J, et al.
The miRNA let-7a1 inhibits the expression of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) in prostate cancer PC-3 cells.
Asian J Androl. 2013; 15(6):753-8 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Reduced microRNA (miRNA) let-7a expression and the activation of insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF1R) signalling are both involved in prostate cancer and progression. In the present study, we demonstrated that the growth inhibitory effect of let-7a1 is directly related to targeting IGF1R gene expression in PC-3 cells. TargetScan predicted three potential target sites (T1, T2 and T3) of let-7a in the 3' untranslational region (3' UTR) of IGF1R mRNA. Real-time PCR, Western blot and luciferase reporter assays were used to detect the effects of let-7a1 overexpression or let-7a1 inhibitor on the IGF1R gene expression in PC-3 cells. The results indicated that let-7a1 could inhibit IGF1R expression by directly targeting the T1 and T2 sites in the 3' UTR of the IGF1R mRNA. We then used RT-PCR, luciferase reporter assays, 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5- diphenyl-2H-tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay, flow cytometry and Hoechst 33342 staining to examine whether let-7a1-mediated inhibition of IGF1R expression also affects the IGF1R-mediated signalling events, including Elk1 activity and c-fos gene expression, proliferation, apoptosis and cell cycle. We demonstrated that let-7a1-mediated IGF1R downregulation was accompanied by attenuation of Elk1 activity and c-fos expression, inhibition of cell proliferation, enhanced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, and that loss function of let-7a1 via inhibition can upregulate IGF1R accompanied by an increase of Elk1 activity and c-fos expression, thereby enhancing cell proliferation. Altogether, these findings suggest that let-7a may be novel therapeutic candidate for prostate cancer.

Kim SH, Yu HS, Park HG, et al.
Egr1 regulates lithium-induced transcription of the Period 2 (PER2) gene.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2013; 1832(12):1969-79 [PubMed] Related Publications
A growing body of evidence suggests that the circadian molecular system is involved in the pathogenic and therapeutic mechanisms underlying bipolar disorders. Lithium, a representative mood stabilizer, has been reported to induce the Period 2 (PER2) gene; however, the underlying molecular mechanisms require further study. We found that lithium upregulated PER2 expression at the transcriptional level in neuronally differentiated SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. Promoter reporter analyses using serial deletions of the PER2 promoter revealed that two early growth response 1 (Egr1)-binding sites (EBS) between positions -180 and -100 are required for maximal activation of the PER2 promoter by lithium. Ectopic expression of Egr1 enhanced lithium-induced PER2 promoter activity, while a point mutation in EBS abolished it. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays and chromatin immunoprecipitation indicated that Egr1 bound directly to the PER2 promoter. Stimulation of the extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK)1/2/Elk1 pathway by lithium was functionally linked to PER2 expression through Egr1 induction, and lithium-induced PER2 expression was strongly attenuated by depletion of Egr1 by siRNA. Lithium also upregulated the expression of Per2 and Egr1 in mouse frontal cortex. Induction of Per2 by lithium was attenuated in Egr1(-/-) mice. In conclusion, lithium stimulates PER2 transcription through the ERK/Elk1/Egr1 pathway in neuronal cells, indicating a connection between the ERK-Egr1 pathway and a circadian gene system in the mechanism of action of lithium.

Shi W, Hou X, Li X, et al.
Differential gene expressions of the MAPK signaling pathway in enterovirus 71-infected rhabdomyosarcoma cells.
Braz J Infect Dis. 2013 Jul-Aug; 17(4):410-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays an important role in response to viral infection. The aim of this study was to explore the function and mechanism of MAPK signaling pathway in enterovirus 71 (EV71) infection of human rhabdomyosarcoma (RD) cells.
METHODS: Apoptosis of RD cells was observed using annexin V-FITC/PI binding assay under a fluorescence microscope. Cellular RNA was extracted and transcribed to cDNA. The expressions of 56 genes of MAPK signaling pathway in EV71-infected RD cells at 8h and 20h after infection were analyzed by PCR array. The levels of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, and TNF-α in the supernatant of RD cells infected with EV71 at different time points were measured by ELISA.
RESULTS: The viability of RD cells decreased obviously within 48h after EV71 infection. Compared with the control group, EV71 infection resulted in the significantly enhanced releases of IL-2, IL-4, IL-10 and TNF-α from infected RD cells (p<0.05). At 8h after infection, the expressions of c-Jun, c-Fos, IFN-β, MEKK1, MLK3 and NIK genes in EV71-infected RD cells were up-regulated by 2.08-6.12-fold, whereas other 19 genes (e.g. AKT1, AKT2, E2F1, IKK and NF-κB1) exhibited down-regulation. However, at 20h after infection, those MAPK signaling molecules including MEKK1, ASK1, MLK2, MLK3, NIK, MEK1, MEK2, MEK4, MEK7, ERK1, JNK1 and JNK2 were up-regulated. In addition, the expressions of AKT2, ELK1, c-Jun, c-Fos, NF-κB p65, PI3K and STAT1 were also increased.
CONCLUSION: EV71 infection induces the differential gene expressions of MAPK signaling pathway such as ERK, JNK and PI3K/AKT in RD cells, which may be associated with the secretions of inflammatory cytokines and host cell apoptosis.

Taniuchi F, Higai K, Tanaka T, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of fucosyltransferase 1 gene expression in colon cancer cells.
ScientificWorldJournal. 2013; 2013:105464 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The α 1,2-fucosyltransferase I (FUT1) enzyme is important for the biosynthesis of H antigens, Lewis B, and Lewis Y. In this study, we clarified the transcriptional regulation of FUT1 in the DLD-1 colon cancer cell line, which has high expression of Lewis B and Lewis Y antigens, expresses the FUT1 gene, and shows α 1,2-fucosyltransferase (FUT) activity. 5'-rapid amplification of cDNA ends revealed a FUT1 transcriptional start site -10 nucleotides upstream of the site registered at NM_000148 in the DataBase of Human Transcription Start Sites (DBTSS). Using the dual luciferase assay, FUT1 gene expression was shown to be regulated at the region -91 to -81 nt to the transcriptional start site, which contains the Elk-1 binding site. Site-directed mutagenesis of this region revealed the Elk-1 binding site to be essential for FUT1 transcription. Furthermore, transfection of the dominant negative Elk-1 gene, and the chromatin immunoprecipitation (CHIp) assay, supported Elk-1-dependent transcriptional regulation of FUT1 gene expression in DLD-1 cells. These results suggest that a defined region in the 5'-flanking region of FUT1 is critical for FUT1 transcription and that constitutive gene expression of FUT1 is regulated by Elk-1 in DLD-1 cells.

Sun NK, Huang SL, Chang TC, Chao CC
Sorafenib induces endometrial carcinoma apoptosis by inhibiting Elk-1-dependent Mcl-1 transcription and inducing Akt/GSK3β-dependent protein degradation.
J Cell Biochem. 2013; 114(8):1819-31 [PubMed] Related Publications
Endometrial carcinoma (EC) is one of the main gynecologic malignancies affecting women, but effective treatments are currently lacking. In the present study, we investigated the effect of sorafenib, a general kinase inhibitor, on several EC cell lines (HEC1A, HEC1B, and RL95-2). Sorafenib induced cell death in EC cells with the following order of sensitivity: HEC1A > HEC1B > RL95-2. Sorafenib suppressed several anti-apoptotic proteins in HEC1A cells, including myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1). Ectopic overexpression of Mcl-1 prevented the cell killing effect of sorafenib. Sorafenib suppressed Mcl-1 at the gene transactivation level by inactivating the ERK/Elk-1 pathway. Accordingly, the inhibitory effect of sorafenib on Mcl-1 expression decreased following knockdown of Elk-1 using short-hairpin RNA (shRNA). Elk-1 overexpression rescued both the inhibitory effect of sorafenib on Mcl-1 expression and the cell killing effect of sorafenib. Furthermore, sorafenib reduced the stability of the Mcl-1 protein by enhancing its ubiquitination and degradation by the proteasome via the AKT/GSK3β and the ERK pathways. Similar results were detected in other EC cell lines. These results indicate that sorafenib induces apoptosis in EC cells by down-regulating the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1 via transcriptional inhibition and protein degradation. Our results thus support the notion that sorafenib may be used in endometrial cancer therapy.

Modest DP, Camaj P, Heinemann V, et al.
KRAS allel-specific activity of sunitinib in an isogenic disease model of colorectal cancer.
J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2013; 139(6):953-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
PURPOSE: To investigate the impact of different KRAS mutations on treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib in SW48 colorectal cancer cell line variants.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Isogenic SW48 KRAS wt, G12A, G12C, G12D, G12R, G12S, G12 V, and G13D cells were evaluated for ERK phosphorylation with and without EGF stimulation. In addition, the respective cell lines were tested for the effect of sunitinib on ERK/ELK phosphorylation, cell cycle, and cytotoxicity.
RESULTS: Compared to KRAS wt cells, all KRAS mutant variants were associated with resistance to sunitinib treatment. In the MTT chemosensitivity assay, the grade of resistance was less pronounced in G13D and highest in G12A, G12C, and G12S mutant cells. The reduction in ERK phosphorylation due to treatment with sunitinib was highest in G12V (89 %) mutant cells and lowest in G12A (24 %) mutant cells. ELK phosphorylation was less decreased in all KRAS mutant variants compared to KRAS wt cells following sunitinib treatment. The grade of resistance appears to correlate with the individual KRAS-dependent intrinsic activation of ERK.
CONCLUSION: Our isogenic cell culture model suggests that KRAS mutations in SW48 colorectal cancer cells are linked to resistance to the multityrosine kinase inhibitor sunitinib. KRAS G13D mutant SW48 cells represented the KRAS subspecies with the lowest grade of resistance. Future studies will have to clarify whether KRAS can be used to guide sunitinib treatment or-in general-a treatment with a multityrosine kinase inhibitor in mCRC.

Zhong Q, Shi G, Zhang Y, et al.
Elk1 and AP-1 sites in the TBP promoter mediate alcohol-induced deregulation of Pol III-dependent genes.
Gene. 2013; 526(1):54-60 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The major risk factors for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are chronic liver diseases that include hepatitis B, hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. However, the mechanisms of alcohol-associated HCC remain to be elucidated. The products of RNA Pol III (RNA polymerase III) dependent genes are elevated in both transformation cells and tumor cells. TBP (TATA-box binding protein) is a central transcription factor, which regulates Pol I, Pol II and Pol III gene activity. Our studies have demonstrated that alcohol increases TBP expression and Pol III gene transcription to promote liver tumor formation. We continue to investigate how ethanol mediates TBP expression. Here, we report that ethanol induces TBP promoter activity and the induction is ethanol dose dependent. Blocking the JNK1 pathway by a chemical inhibitor and siRNA reduces this ethanol-induced activity. Furthermore, mutating G>A at a -46 bp Elk1 binding site of the TBP promoter or mutating AP-1 binding site at -37 bp (A>G) and -38 bp (C>T) reduces the TBP promoter activity. Mutation of both Elk1 and AP-1 binding sites dramatically represses this induction. Together, these studies demonstrate that, for the first time, alcohol increases Pol III gene transcription through a response element, which is composed of the overlapping Elk1 and AP-1 binding sites of the TBP promoter and affected by alcohol. It suggests that these binding sites may play a critical role in alcohol-induced deregulation of Pol III genes in liver tumor development.

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