Gene Summary

Gene:ELK4; ELK4, ETS-domain protein (SRF accessory protein 1)
Aliases: SAP1
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 reponse element in the promoter of the c-fos proto-oncogene. The protein encoded by this gene is phosphorylated by the kinases, MAPK1 and MAPK8. Several transcript variants have been described for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:ETS domain-containing protein Elk-4
Source:NCBIAccessed: 06 August, 2015


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

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 06 August 2015 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.

  • Chromatin
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Promoter Regions
  • Histones
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-4
  • Ribosomal Proteins
  • Sirtuins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Base Sequence
  • FISH
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
  • RNA Splicing
  • Staging
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Metribolone
  • Acetylation
  • Cancer DNA
  • siRNA
  • Messenger RNA
  • Oncogene Fusion Proteins
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Phenotype
  • Chromosome 1
  • p38 Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Gene Fusion
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Transcription
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-ets
  • Breast Cancer
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Binding Sites
  • Adenovirus E1A Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
Tag cloud generated 06 August, 2015 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: ELK4 (cancer-related)

Ren G, Zhang Y, Mao X, et al.
Transcription-mediated chimeric RNAs in prostate cancer: time to revisit old hypothesis?
OMICS. 2014; 18(10):615-24 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements and fusion genes play important roles in tumor development and progression. Four high-frequency prostate cancer-specific fusion genes were recently reported in Chinese cases. We attempted to confirm one of the fusion genes, USP9Y-TTTY15, by reverse transcription PCR, but detected the presence of the USP9Y-TTTY15 fusion transcript in cancer samples, nonmalignant prostate tissues, and normal tissues from other organs, demonstrating that it is a transcription-induced chimeric RNA, which is commonly produced in normal tissues. In 105 prostate cancer samples and case-matched adjacent nonmalignant tissues, we determined the expression level of USP9Y-TTTY15 and a previously reported transcription-induced chimeric RNA, SLC45A3-ELK4. The expression levels of both chimeric RNAs vary greatly in cancer and normal cells. USP9Y-TTTY15 expression is neither higher in cancer than adjacent normal tissues, nor correlated with features of advanced prostate cancer. Although the expression level of SLC45A3-ELK4 is higher in cancer than normal cells, and a dramatic increase in its expression from normal to cancer cells is correlated with advanced disease, its expression level in cancer samples alone is not correlated with any clinical parameters. These data show that both chimeric RNAs contribute less to prostate carcinogenesis than previously reported.

French JD, Ghoussaini M, Edwards SL, et al.
Functional variants at the 11q13 risk locus for breast cancer regulate cyclin D1 expression through long-range enhancers.
Am J Hum Genet. 2013; 92(4):489-503 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Analysis of 4,405 variants in 89,050 European subjects from 41 case-control studies identified three independent association signals for estrogen-receptor-positive tumors at 11q13. The strongest signal maps to a transcriptional enhancer element in which the G allele of the best candidate causative variant rs554219 increases risk of breast cancer, reduces both binding of ELK4 transcription factor and luciferase activity in reporter assays, and may be associated with low cyclin D1 protein levels in tumors. Another candidate variant, rs78540526, lies in the same enhancer element. Risk association signal 2, rs75915166, creates a GATA3 binding site within a silencer element. Chromatin conformation studies demonstrate that these enhancer and silencer elements interact with each other and with their likely target gene, CCND1.

Horn S, Figl A, Rachakonda PS, et al.
TERT promoter mutations in familial and sporadic melanoma.
Science. 2013; 339(6122):959-61 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cutaneous melanoma occurs in both familial and sporadic forms. We investigated a melanoma-prone family through linkage analysis and high-throughput sequencing and identified a disease-segregating germline mutation in the promoter of the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) gene, which encodes the catalytic subunit of telomerase. The mutation creates a new binding motif for Ets transcription factors and ternary complex factors (TCFs) near the transcription start and, in reporter gene assays, caused up to twofold increase in transcription. We then screened the TERT promoter in sporadic melanoma and observed recurrent ultraviolet signature somatic mutations in 125 of 168 (74%) of human cell lines derived from metastatic melanomas, 45 of 53 corresponding metastatic tumor tissues (85%), and 25 of 77 (33%) primary melanomas. The majority of those mutations occurred at two positions in the TERT promoter and also generated binding motifs for Ets/TCF transcription factors.

Mesquita B, Lopes P, Rodrigues A, et al.
Frequent copy number gains at 1q21 and 1q32 are associated with overexpression of the ETS transcription factors ETV3 and ELF3 in breast cancer irrespective of molecular subtypes.
Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2013; 138(1):37-45 [PubMed] Related Publications
Several ETS transcription factors are involved in the pathogenesis of human cancers by different mechanisms. As gene copy number gain/amplification is an alternative mechanism of oncogenic activation and 1q gain is the most common copy number change in breast carcinoma, we investigated how that genomic change impacts in the expression of the three 1q ETS family members ETV3, ELK4, and ELF3. We have first evaluated 141 breast carcinomas for genome-wide copy number changes by chromosomal CGH and showed that 1q21 and 1q32 were the two chromosome bands with most frequent genomic copy number gains. Second, we confirmed by FISH with locus-specific BAC clones that cases showing 1q gain/amplification by CGH showed copy number increase of the ETS genes ETV3 (located in 1q21~23), ELF3, and ELK4 (both in 1q32). Third, gene expression levels of the three 1q ETS genes, as well as their potential targets MYC and CRISP3, were evaluated by quantitative real-time PCR. We here show for the first time that the most common genomic copy number gains in breast cancer, 1q21 and 1q32, are associated with overexpression of the ETS transcription factors ETV3 and ELF3 (but not ELK4) at these loci irrespective of molecular subtypes. Among the three 1q ETS genes, ELF3 has a relevant role in breast carcinogenesis and is also the most likely target of the 1q copy number increase. The basal-like molecular subtype presented the worst prognosis regarding disease-specific survival, but no additional prognostic value was found for 1q copy number status or ELF3 expression. In addition, we show that there is a correlation between the expression of the oncogene MYC, irrespectively of copy number gain at its loci in 8q24, and the expression of both the transcriptional repressor ETV3 and the androgen respondent ELK4.

Li L, Bhatia R
The controversial role of Sirtuins in tumorigenesis - SIRT7 joins the debate.
Cell Res. 2013; 23(1):10-2 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Sirtuins are NAD-dependent deacetylases that are conserved from yeast to mammals. A new report sheds light on the function of SIRT7, the least understood member of the Sirtuin family by identifying its locus-specific H3K18 deacetylase activity, and linking it to maintenance of cellular transformation in malignancies.

Kumar-Sinha C, Kalyana-Sundaram S, Chinnaiyan AM
SLC45A3-ELK4 chimera in prostate cancer: spotlight on cis-splicing.
Cancer Discov. 2012; 2(7):582-5 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Using a series of detailed experiments, Zhang and colleagues establish that the prostate cancer RNA chimera SLC45A3-ELK4 is generated by cis-splicing between the 2 adjacent genes and does not involve DNA rearrangements or trans-splicing. The chimera expression is induced by androgen treatment likely by overcoming the read-through block imposed by the intergenic CCCTC insulators bound by CCCTC-binding factor repressor protein. The chimeric transcript, but not wild-type ELK4, is shown to augment prostate cancer cell proliferation.

Barber MF, Michishita-Kioi E, Xi Y, et al.
SIRT7 links H3K18 deacetylation to maintenance of oncogenic transformation.
Nature. 2012; 487(7405):114-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Sirtuin proteins regulate diverse cellular pathways that influence genomic stability, metabolism and ageing. SIRT7 is a mammalian sirtuin whose biochemical activity, molecular targets and physiological functions have been unclear. Here we show that SIRT7 is an NAD(+)-dependent H3K18Ac (acetylated lysine 18 of histone H3) deacetylase that stabilizes the transformed state of cancer cells. Genome-wide binding studies reveal that SIRT7 binds to promoters of a specific set of gene targets, where it deacetylates H3K18Ac and promotes transcriptional repression. The spectrum of SIRT7 target genes is defined in part by its interaction with the cancer-associated E26 transformed specific (ETS) transcription factor ELK4, and comprises numerous genes with links to tumour suppression. Notably, selective hypoacetylation of H3K18Ac has been linked to oncogenic transformation, and in patients is associated with aggressive tumour phenotypes and poor prognosis. We find that deacetylation of H3K18Ac by SIRT7 is necessary for maintaining essential features of human cancer cells, including anchorage-independent growth and escape from contact inhibition. Moreover, SIRT7 is necessary for a global hypoacetylation of H3K18Ac associated with cellular transformation by the viral oncoprotein E1A. Finally, SIRT7 depletion markedly reduces the tumorigenicity of human cancer cell xenografts in mice. Together, our work establishes SIRT7 as a highly selective H3K18Ac deacetylase and demonstrates a pivotal role for SIRT7 in chromatin regulation, cellular transformation programs and tumour formation in vivo.

Zhang Y, Gong M, Yuan H, et al.
Chimeric transcript generated by cis-splicing of adjacent genes regulates prostate cancer cell proliferation.
Cancer Discov. 2012; 2(7):598-607 [PubMed] Related Publications
UNLABELLED: Gene fusion is a common event in cancer. The fusion RNA and protein products often play causal roles in tumorigenesis and therefore represent ideal diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Formerly, fusion chimeric products in cancer were thought to be produced solely by chromosomal translocation. Here, we show that a chimeric SLC45A3-ELK4 RNA is generated in the absence of chromosomal rearrangement. We showed that it is not a product of RNA trans-splicing, but formed by cis-splicing of adjacent genes/read-through. The binding of CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) to the insulator sequences inversely correlates with the expression of the chimera transcript. The SLC45A3-ELK4 fusion, but not wild-type, ELK4 plays important roles in regulating cell growth in both androgen-dependent and -independent prostate cancer cells. The level of the chimeric transcript correlates with disease progression, with the highest levels in prostate cancer metastases. Our results suggest that gene fusions can arise from cis-splicing of adjacent genes without corresponding DNA changes.
SIGNIFICANCE: With the absence of corresponding DNA rearrangement, chimeric fusion SLC45A3-ELK4 transcript in prostate cancer cells is generated by cis-splicing of adjacent genes/gene read-through instead of trans-splicing. SLC45A3-ELK4 controls prostate cancer cell proliferation, and the chimera level correlates with prostate cancer disease progression.

Shaikhibrahim Z, Braun M, Nikolov P, et al.
Rearrangement of the ETS genes ETV-1, ETV-4, ETV-5, and ELK-4 is a clonal event during prostate cancer progression.
Hum Pathol. 2012; 43(11):1910-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
ETS gene rearrangements are frequently found in prostate cancer. Several studies have assessed the rearrangement status of the most commonly found ETS rearranged gene ERG, and the less frequent genes, ETV-1, ETV-4, ETV-5, and ELK-4 in primary prostate cancer. However, frequency in metastatic disease is not well investigated. Recently, we have assessed the ERG rearrangement status in both primary and corresponding lymph node metastases and observed that ERG rearrangement in primary prostate cancer transfers into lymph node metastases, suggesting it to be a clonal expansion event during prostate cancer progression. As a continuation, we investigated in this study whether this observation is valid for the less frequent ETS rearranged genes. Using dual-color break-apart fluorescent in situ hybridization assays, we evaluated the status of all less frequent ETS gene rearrangements for the first time on tissue microarrays constructed from a large cohort of 86 patients with prostate cancer and composed of primary and corresponding lymph node metastases, as well as in a second cohort composed of 43 distant metastases. ETV-1, ETV-4, ETV-5, and ELK-4 rearrangements were found in 8 (10%) of 81, 5 (6%) of 85, 1 (1%) of 85, and 2 (2%) of 86 of primary prostate cancer, respectively, and in 6 (8%) of 73, 4 (6%) of 72, 1 (1%) of 75, and 1 (1%) of 78 of corresponding lymph node metastases, respectively. ETV-1 and ETV-5 rearrangements were not found in the distant metastases cases, whereas ETV-4 and ELK-4 rearrangements were found in 1 (4%) of 25 and 1 (4%) of 24, respectively. Our findings suggest that rearrangement of the less frequent ETS genes is a clonal event during prostate cancer progression.

Day BW, Stringer BW, Spanevello MD, et al.
ELK4 neutralization sensitizes glioblastoma to apoptosis through downregulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Mcl-1.
Neuro Oncol. 2011; 13(11):1202-12 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Glioma is the most common adult primary brain tumor. Its most malignant form, glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), is almost invariably fatal, due in part to the intrinsic resistance of GBM to radiation- and chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. We analyzed B-cell leukemia-2 (Bcl-2) anti-apoptotic proteins in GBM and found myeloid cell leukemia-1 (Mcl-1) to be the highest expressed in the majority of malignant gliomas. Mcl-1 was functionally important, as neutralization of Mcl-1 induced apoptosis and increased chemotherapy-induced apoptosis. To determine how Mcl-1 was regulated in glioma, we analyzed the promoter and identified a novel functional single nucleotide polymorphism in an uncharacterized E26 transformation-specific (ETS) binding site. We identified the ETS transcription factor ELK4 as a critical regulator of Mcl-1 in glioma, since ELK4 downregulation was shown to reduce Mcl-1 and increase sensitivity to apoptosis. Importantly the presence of the single nucleotide polymorphism, which ablated ELK4 binding in gliomas, was associated with lower Mcl-1 levels and a greater dependence on Bcl-xL. Furthermore, in vivo, ELK4 downregulation reduced tumor formation in glioblastoma xenograft models. The critical role of ELK4 in Mcl-1 expression and protection from apoptosis in glioma defines ELK4 as a novel potential therapeutic target for GBM.

Kossenkov AV, Vachani A, Chang C, et al.
Resection of non-small cell lung cancers reverses tumor-induced gene expression changes in the peripheral immune system.
Clin Cancer Res. 2011; 17(18):5867-77 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: To characterize the interactions of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors with the immune system at the level of mRNA and microRNA (miRNA) expression and to define expression signatures that characterize the presence of a malignant tumor versus a nonmalignant nodule.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We have examined the changes of both mRNA and miRNA expression levels in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) between paired samples collected from NSCLC patients before and after tumor removal using Illumina gene expression arrays.
RESULTS: We found that malignant tumor removal significantly changes expression of more than 3,000 protein-coding genes, especially genes in pathways associated with suppression of the innate immune response, including natural killer cell signaling and apoptosis-associated ceramide signaling. Binding sites for the ETS domain transcription factors ELK1, ELK4, and SPI1 were enriched in promoter regions of genes upregulated in the presence of a tumor. Additional important regulators included five miRNAs expressed at significantly higher levels before tumor removal. Repressed protein-coding targets of those miRNAs included many transcription factors, several involved in immunologically important pathways. Although there was a significant overlap in the effects of malignant tumors and benign lung nodules on PBMC gene expression, we identified one gene panel which indicates a tumor or nodule presence and a second panel that can distinguish malignant from nonmalignant nodules.
CONCLUSIONS: A tumor presence in the lung influences mRNA and miRNA expression in PBMC and this influence is reversed by tumor removal. These results suggest that PBMC gene expression signatures could be used for lung cancer diagnosis.

Shaikhibrahim Z, Lindstrot A, Langer B, et al.
Differential expression of ETS family members in prostate cancer tissues and androgen-sensitive and insensitive prostate cancer cell lines.
Int J Mol Med. 2011; 28(1):89-93 [PubMed] Related Publications
The ETS family of transcription factors plays important roles in both normal and neoplastic cells for different biological processes such as proliferation, differentiation, development, transformation, apoptosis, migration, invasion and angiogenesis. The 27 ETS factors are probably a part of complex regulatory networks including interactions among family members. In human prostate cancer, rearrangements have been found in several genes of the ETS family resulting in chimeric oncoproteins. In a previous study we found that the ETS family prototype, Ets-1 affects biological properties of PC3 prostate cancer cells. In a first effort to understand the cooperative interactions between different ETS factors in prostate cancer, in the present study we examined the expression pattern of all 27 ETS members using quantitative RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) in the androgen-sensitive VCaP and LNCaP, and the androgen-insensitive PC3 and DU-145 prostate cancer cell lines as well as in human prostate cancer tissue samples. We further investigated whether the ETS family prototype, Ets-1, regulates other ETS family members by examining the effect of Ets-1 blockade in PC3 cells on their expression. We found an expression specificity of various ETS family members in the prostate cancer cell lines which might reflect their different biological properties. In human prostate samples only 3 among the 27 ETS family members (Ehf, Elk-4 and Ets-2) showed significant expression differences between normal and cancerous prostate glands. We finally demonstrate that the family prototype, Ets-1, regulates the family members Elf-1, Elf-2, Elk-1, Etv-5 and Spi-1 in PC3 prostate cancer cells. Chimeric oncoproteins containing ETS family members arising due to frequent translocations in prostate cancer are probably part of a regulatory network involving other ETS family members as well.

Nacu S, Yuan W, Kan Z, et al.
Deep RNA sequencing analysis of readthrough gene fusions in human prostate adenocarcinoma and reference samples.
BMC Med Genomics. 2011; 4:11 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Readthrough fusions across adjacent genes in the genome, or transcription-induced chimeras (TICs), have been estimated using expressed sequence tag (EST) libraries to involve 4-6% of all genes. Deep transcriptional sequencing (RNA-Seq) now makes it possible to study the occurrence and expression levels of TICs in individual samples across the genome.
METHODS: We performed single-end RNA-Seq on three human prostate adenocarcinoma samples and their corresponding normal tissues, as well as brain and universal reference samples. We developed two bioinformatics methods to specifically identify TIC events: a targeted alignment method using artificial exon-exon junctions within 200,000 bp from adjacent genes, and genomic alignment allowing splicing within individual reads. We performed further experimental verification and characterization of selected TIC and fusion events using quantitative RT-PCR and comparative genomic hybridization microarrays.
RESULTS: Targeted alignment against artificial exon-exon junctions yielded 339 distinct TIC events, including 32 gene pairs with multiple isoforms. The false discovery rate was estimated to be 1.5%. Spliced alignment to the genome was less sensitive, finding only 18% of those found by targeted alignment in 33-nt reads and 59% of those in 50-nt reads. However, spliced alignment revealed 30 cases of TICs with intervening exons, in addition to distant inversions, scrambled genes, and translocations. Our findings increase the catalog of observed TIC gene pairs by 66%.We verified 6 of 6 predicted TICs in all prostate samples, and 2 of 5 predicted novel distant gene fusions, both private events among 54 prostate tumor samples tested. Expression of TICs correlates with that of the upstream gene, which can explain the prostate-specific pattern of some TIC events and the restriction of the SLC45A3-ELK4 e4-e2 TIC to ERG-negative prostate samples, as confirmed in 20 matched prostate tumor and normal samples and 9 lung cancer cell lines.
CONCLUSIONS: Deep transcriptional sequencing and analysis with targeted and spliced alignment methods can effectively identify TIC events across the genome in individual tissues. Prostate and reference samples exhibit a wide range of TIC events, involving more genes than estimated previously using ESTs. Tissue specificity of TIC events is correlated with expression patterns of the upstream gene. Some TIC events, such as MSMB-NCOA4, may play functional roles in cancer.

Miyagi Y, Sasaki T, Fujinami K, et al.
ETS family-associated gene fusions in Japanese prostate cancer: analysis of 194 radical prostatectomy samples.
Mod Pathol. 2010; 23(11):1492-8 [PubMed] Related Publications
The incidence and clinical significance of the TMPRSS2:ERG gene fusion in prostate cancer has been investigated with contradictory results. It is now common knowledge that significant variability in gene alterations exists according to ethnic background in various kinds of cancer. In this study, we evaluated gene fusions involving the ETS gene family in Japanese prostate cancer. Total RNA from 194 formalin-fixed and paraffin-embedded prostate cancer samples obtained by radical prostatectomy was subjected to reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction to detect the common TMPRSS2:ERG T1-E4 and T1-E5 fusion transcripts and five other non-TMPRSS2:ERG fusion transcripts. We identified 54 TMPRSS2:ERG-positive cases (54/194, 28%) and two HNRPA2B1:ETV1-positive cases (2/194, 1%). The SLC45A3-ELK4 transcript, a fusion transcript without structural gene rearrangement, was detectable in five cases (5/194, 3%). The frequencies of both TMPRSS2:ERG- and non-TMPRSS2:ERG-positive cases were lower than those reported for European, North American or Brazilian patients. Internodular heterogeneity of TMPRSS2:ERG was observed in 5 out of 11 multifocal cases (45%); a frequency similar to that found in European and North American cases. We found a positive correlation between the TMPRSS2:ERG fusion and a Gleason score of ≤7 and patient age, but found no relationship with pT stage or plasma prostate-specific antigen concentration. To exclude the possibility that Japanese prostate cancer displays novel TMPRSS2:ERG transcript variants or has unique 5' fusion partners for the ETS genes, we performed 5' RACE using fresh-frozen prostate cancer samples. We identified only the normal 5' cDNA ends for ERG, ETV1 and ETV5 in fusion-negative cases. Because we identified a relatively low frequency of TMPRSS2:ERG and other fusions, further evaluation is required before this promising molecular marker should be introduced into the management of Japanese prostate cancer patients.

Lai J, Lehman ML, Dinger ME, et al.
A variant of the KLK4 gene is expressed as a cis sense-antisense chimeric transcript in prostate cancer cells.
RNA. 2010; 16(6):1156-66 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
In humans, more than 30,000 chimeric transcripts originating from 23,686 genes have been identified. The mechanisms and association of chimeric transcripts arising from chromosomal rearrangements with cancer are well established, but much remains unknown regarding the biogenesis and importance of other chimeric transcripts that arise from nongenomic alterations. Recently, a SLC45A3-ELK4 chimera has been shown to be androgen-regulated, and is overexpressed in metastatic or high-grade prostate tumors relative to local prostate cancers. Here, we characterize the expression of a KLK4 cis sense-antisense chimeric transcript, and show other examples in prostate cancer. Using non-protein-coding microarray analyses, we initially identified an androgen-regulated antisense transcript within the 3' untranslated region of the KLK4 gene in LNCaP cells. The KLK4 cis-NAT was validated by strand-specific linker-mediated RT-PCR and Northern blotting. Characterization of the KLK4 cis-NAT by 5' and 3' rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) revealed that this transcript forms multiple fusions with the KLK4 sense transcript. Lack of KLK4 antisense promoter activity using reporter assays suggests that these transcripts are unlikely to arise from a trans-splicing mechanism. 5' RACE and analyses of deep sequencing data from LNCaP cells treated +/-androgens revealed six high-confidence sense-antisense chimeras of which three were supported by the cDNA databases. In this study, we have shown complex gene expression at the KLK4 locus that might be a hallmark of cis sense-antisense chimeric transcription.

Jacques C, Fontaine JF, Franc B, et al.
Death-associated protein 3 is overexpressed in human thyroid oncocytic tumours.
Br J Cancer. 2009; 101(1):132-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The human death-associated protein 3 (hDAP3) is a GTP-binding constituent of the small subunit of the mitochondrial ribosome with a pro-apoptotic function.
METHODS: A search through publicly available microarray data sets showed 337 genes potentially coregulated with the DAP3 gene. The promoter sequences of these 337 genes and 70 out of 85 mitochondrial ribosome genes were analysed in silico with the DAP3 gene promoter sequence. The mitochondrial role of DAP3 was also investigated in the thyroid tumours presenting various mitochondrial contents.
RESULTS: The study revealed nine transcription factors presenting enriched motifs for these gene promoters, five of which are implicated in cellular growth (ELK1, ELK4, RUNX1, HOX11-CTF1, TAL1-ternary complex factor 3) and four in mitochondrial biogenesis (nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1), GABPA, PPARG-RXRA and estrogen-related receptor alpha (ESRRA)). An independent microarray data set showed the overexpression of ELK1, RUNX1 and ESRRA in the thyroid oncocytic tumours. Exploring the thyroid tumours, we found that DAP3 mRNA and protein expression is upregulated in tumours presenting a mitochondrial biogenesis compared with the normal tissue. ELK1 and ESRRA were also showed upregulated with DAP3.
CONCLUSION: ELK1 and ESRRA may be considered as potential regulators of the DAP3 gene expression. DAP3 may participate in mitochondrial maintenance and play a role in the balance between mitochondrial homoeostasis and tumourigenesis.

Rickman DS, Pflueger D, Moss B, et al.
SLC45A3-ELK4 is a novel and frequent erythroblast transformation-specific fusion transcript in prostate cancer.
Cancer Res. 2009; 69(7):2734-8 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Chromosomal rearrangements account for all erythroblast transformation-specific (ETS) family member gene fusions that have been reported in prostate cancer and have clinical, diagnostic, and prognostic implications. Androgen-regulated genes account for the majority of the 5' genomic regulatory promoter elements fused with ETS genes. TMPRSS2-ERG, TMPRSS2-ETV1, and SLC45A3-ERG rearrangements account for roughly 90% of ETS fusion prostate cancer. ELK4, another ETS family member, is androgen regulated, involved in promoting cell growth, and highly expressed in a subset of prostate cancer, yet the mechanism of ELK4 overexpression is unknown. In this study, we identified a novel ETS family fusion transcript, SLC45A3-ELK4, and found it to be expressed in both benign prostate tissue and prostate cancer. We found high levels of SLC45A3-ELK4 mRNA restricted to a subset of prostate cancer samples. SLC45A3-ELK4 transcript can be detected at high levels in urine samples from men at risk for prostate cancer. Characterization of the fusion mRNA revealed a major variant in which SLC45A3 exon 1 is fused to ELK4 exon 2. Based on quantitative PCR analyses of DNA, unlike other ETS fusions described in prostate cancer, the expression of SLC45A3-ELK4 mRNA is not exclusive to cases harboring a chromosomal rearrangement. Treatment of LNCaP cancer cells with a synthetic androgen (R1881) revealed that SLC45A3-ELK4, and not endogenous ELK4, mRNA expression is androgen regulated. Altogether, our findings show that SLC45A3-ELK4 mRNA expression is heterogeneous, highly induced in a subset of prostate cancers, androgen regulated, and most commonly occurs through a mechanism other than chromosomal rearrangement (e.g., trans-splicing).

Maher CA, Kumar-Sinha C, Cao X, et al.
Transcriptome sequencing to detect gene fusions in cancer.
Nature. 2009; 458(7234):97-101 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 01/10/2015 Related Publications
Recurrent gene fusions, typically associated with haematological malignancies and rare bone and soft-tissue tumours, have recently been described in common solid tumours. Here we use an integrative analysis of high-throughput long- and short-read transcriptome sequencing of cancer cells to discover novel gene fusions. As a proof of concept, we successfully used integrative transcriptome sequencing to 're-discover' the BCR-ABL1 (ref. 10) gene fusion in a chronic myelogenous leukaemia cell line and the TMPRSS2-ERG gene fusion in a prostate cancer cell line and tissues. Additionally, we nominated, and experimentally validated, novel gene fusions resulting in chimaeric transcripts in cancer cell lines and tumours. Taken together, this study establishes a robust pipeline for the discovery of novel gene chimaeras using high-throughput sequencing, opening up an important class of cancer-related mutations for comprehensive characterization.

Makkonen H, Jääskeläinen T, Pitkänen-Arsiola T, et al.
Identification of ETS-like transcription factor 4 as a novel androgen receptor target in prostate cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2008; 27(36):4865-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Transcriptional control by androgens via androgen receptor (AR) is strongly involved in prostate cancer development, but the critical target genes have remained elusive. We have characterized E twenty-six-like transcription factor 4 (ELK4) (also known as serum response factor accessory protein 1) as a novel AR target in human prostate cancer cells. In-silico screening identified three putative AR response elements (AREs) within -10 kb from the transcription start site of ELK4. Both ARE1 at -167/-153 and ARE2 at -481/-467 bound AR in vitro and mediated androgen induction as isolated elements in transcription assays in non-prostate cells. However, merely the ARE2 that cooperates with a proximal forkhead box A1-binding site was critical for the AR-dependent activation of ELK4 promoter in prostate cancer cells. Preferential loading of holo-AR onto the ARE2 and concomitant recruitment of RNA polymerase II onto the ELK4 promoter was confirmed in prostate cancer cells by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Database searches indicated that the expression of ELK4 is markedly increased in prostate cancers relative to normal prostates. Moreover, prostate cancer tissue immunostainings showed that nuclear ELK4 levels are significantly increased in androgen-refractory prostate cancers compared to untreated tumours. Reduction of the amount of ELK4 in LNCaP cells by RNAi retarded cell growth. In conclusion, ELK4 is a direct AR target in prostate cancer cells. Androgens may thus contribute to the growth of prostate cancer via influencing ELK4 levels.

van Riggelen J, Buchwalter G, Soto U, et al.
Loss of net as repressor leads to constitutive increased c-fos transcription in cervical cancer cells.
J Biol Chem. 2005; 280(5):3286-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
We have investigated the expression of c-fos in cervical carcinoma cells and in somatic cell hybrids derived therefrom. In malignant cells, c-fos was constitutively expressed even after serum starvation. Dissection of the c-fos promoter showed that expression was mainly controlled by the SRE motif, which was active in malignant cells, but repressed in their non-malignant counterparts. Constitutive SRE activity was not mediated by sustained mitogen-activated protein kinase activity but because of inefficient expression of the ternary complex factor Net, which was either very low or even barely discernible. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that Net directly binds to the SRE nucleoprotein complex in non-tumorigenic cells, but not in malignant segregants. Small interfering RNA targeted against Net resulted in enhanced c-fos transcription, clearly illustrating its repressor function. Conversely, stable ectopic expression of Net in malignant cells negatively regulated endogenous c-fos, resulting in a disappearance of the c-Fos protein from the AP-1 transcription complex. These data indicate that loss of Net and constitutive c-fos expression appear to be a key event in the transformation of cervical cancer cells.

Chai Y, Chipitsyna G, Cui J, et al.
c-Fos oncogene regulator Elk-1 interacts with BRCA1 splice variants BRCA1a/1b and enhances BRCA1a/1b-mediated growth suppression in breast cancer cells.
Oncogene. 2001; 20(11):1357-67 [PubMed] Related Publications
Elk-1, a c-Fos protooncogene regulator, which belongs to the ETS-domain family of transcriptional factors, plays an important role in the induction of immediate early gene expression in response to a variety of extracellular signals. In this study, we demonstrate for the first time the in vitro and in vivo interaction of Elk-1 with BRCA1 splice variants BRCA1a and BRCA1b using GST-pull down assays, co-imunoprecipitations/Western blot analysis of cell extracts from breast cancer cells and mammalian two-hybrid assays. We have localized the BRCA1 interaction domain of Elk-1 protein to the conserved ETS domain, a motif involved in DNA binding and protein-protein interactions. We also observed binding of BRCA1 proteins to other ETS-domain transcription factors SAP1, ETS-1, ERG-2 and Fli-1 but not to Elk-1 splice variant DeltaElk-1 and c-Fos protooncogene. Both BRCA1a and BRCA1b splice variants function as growth suppressors of human breast cancer cells. Interestingly, our studies reveal that although both Elk-1 and SAP-1 are highly homologous members of a subfamily of ETS domain proteins called ternary complex factors, it is only Elk-1 but not SAP-1 that can augment the growth suppressive function of BRCA1a/1b proteins in breast cancer cells. Thus Elk-1 could be a potential downstream target of BRCA1 in its growth control pathway. Furthermore, we have observed inhibition of c-Fos promoter activity in BRCA1a transfected stable breast cancer cells and over expression of BRCA1a/1b attenuates MEK-induced SRE activation in vivo. These results demonstrate for the first time a link between the growth suppressive function of BRCA1a/1b proteins and signal transduction pathway involving Elk-1 protein. All these results taken together suggest that one of the mechanisms by which BRCA1a/1b proteins function as growth/tumor suppressors is through inhibition of the expression of Elk-1 target genes like c-Fos.

Reichard U, Margraf S, Hube B, Rüchel R
A method for recovery of Candida albicans DNA from larger blood samples and its detection by polymerase chain reaction on proteinase genes.
Mycoses. 1997; 40(7-8):249-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
A method for the detection of Candida albicans from up to 15 ml of blood by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), based on the differential resistance of mammalian and fungal cells towards detergent was developed. The procedure essentially involved removal of the blood cells by sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) induced lysis, followed by DNA extraction after degradation of fungal cell walls by a recombinant beta-1,3-glucanase. The genes of two different aspartic proteinases from C. albicans, SAP1 and SAP2, with an overall homology of 77% in their nucleotide sequences, were chosen as targets for PCR. The oligonucleotide primers used were directed to strictly conserved regions similar in both genes. As the number of base pairs between the primers are different in the two genes, amplification products of 220 bp and 238 bp in length were obtained. This led to a characteristic double band in subsequent agarose gel electrophoresis. The detection limit for a nested PCR was less than 10 C. albicans cells ml-1 of seeded blood. The detection limit of conventional PCR from a blood volume in the 10 ml range was less than 100 yeasts ml-1. Preliminary trials with clinical blood specimens suggested, that conventional PCR from large blood samples, being less laborious and prone to contamination than nested PCR, could be suited for the detection of deepseated C. albicans mycosis.

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Cite this page: Cotterill SJ. ELK4 gene, Cancer Genetics Web: http://www.cancer-genetics.org/ELK4.htm Accessed:

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