Gene Summary

Gene:FOSL1; FOS-like antigen 1
Aliases: FRA, FRA1, fra-1
Summary:The Fos gene family consists of 4 members: FOS, FOSB, FOSL1, and FOSL2. These genes encode leucine zipper proteins that can dimerize with proteins of the JUN family, thereby forming the transcription factor complex AP-1. As such, the FOS proteins have been implicated as regulators of cell proliferation, differentiation, and transformation. Several transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for this gene. [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2014]
Databases:OMIM, VEGA, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:fos-related antigen 1
Source:NCBIAccessed: 27 February, 2015


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (30)
Pathways:What pathways are this gene/protein implicaed in?
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Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1990-2015)
Graph generated 27 February 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.

  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cancer RNA
  • Base Sequence
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Cell Movement
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • siRNA
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Colonic Neoplasms
  • MicroRNAs
  • Neoplastic Cell Transformation
  • Messenger RNA
  • Phosphorylation
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Down-Regulation
  • Phenotype
  • Western Blotting
  • Fos-Related Antigen-2
  • Colorectal Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Transcription Factors
  • Chromosome 11
  • Signal Transduction
  • Lung Cancer
  • Adenocarcinoma
  • Gene Expression
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Squamous Cell Carcinoma
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Response Elements
  • Promoter Regions
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases
  • Up-Regulation
  • Protein Binding
  • Repressor Proteins
Tag cloud generated 27 February, 2015 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (3)

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: FOSL1 (cancer-related)

Godde NJ, Sheridan JM, Smith LK, et al.
Scribble modulates the MAPK/Fra1 pathway to disrupt luminal and ductal integrity and suppress tumour formation in the mammary gland.
PLoS Genet. 2014; 10(5):e1004323 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Polarity coordinates cell movement, differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis to build and maintain complex epithelial tissues such as the mammary gland. Loss of polarity and the deregulation of these processes are critical events in malignant progression but precisely how and at which stage polarity loss impacts on mammary development and tumourigenesis is unclear. Scrib is a core polarity regulator and tumour suppressor gene however to date our understanding of Scrib function in the mammary gland has been limited to cell culture and transplantation studies of cell lines. Utilizing a conditional mouse model of Scrib loss we report for the first time that Scrib is essential for mammary duct morphogenesis, mammary progenitor cell fate and maintenance, and we demonstrate a critical and specific role for Scribble in the control of the early steps of breast cancer progression. In particular, Scrib-deficiency significantly induced Fra1 expression and basal progenitor clonogenicity, which resulted in fully penetrant ductal hyperplasia characterized by high cell turnover, MAPK hyperactivity, frank polarity loss with mixing of apical and basolateral membrane constituents and expansion of atypical luminal cells. We also show for the first time a role for Scribble in mammalian spindle orientation with the onset of mammary hyperplasia being associated with aberrant luminal cell spindle orientation and a failure to apoptose during the final stage of duct tubulogenesis. Restoring MAPK/Fra1 to baseline levels prevented Scrib-hyperplasia, whereas persistent Scrib deficiency induced alveolar hyperplasia and increased the incidence, onset and grade of mammary tumours. These findings, based on a definitive genetic mouse model provide fundamental insights into mammary duct maturation and homeostasis and reveal that Scrib loss activates a MAPK/Fra1 pathway that alters mammary progenitor activity to drive premalignancy and accelerate tumour progression.

Zhao C, Qiao Y, Jonsson P, et al.
Genome-wide profiling of AP-1-regulated transcription provides insights into the invasiveness of triple-negative breast cancer.
Cancer Res. 2014; 74(14):3983-94 [PubMed] Related Publications
Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive clinical subtype accounting for up to 20% of all breast cancers, but its malignant determinants remain largely undefined. Here, we show that in TNBC the overexpression of Fra-1, a component of the transcription factor AP-1, offers prognostic potential. Fra-1 depletion or its heterodimeric partner c-Jun inhibits the proliferative and invasive phenotypes of TNBC cells in vitro. Similarly, RNAi-mediated attenuation of Fra-1 or c-Jun reduced cellular invasion in vivo in a zebrafish tumor xenograft model. Exploring the AP-1 cistrome and the AP-1-regulated transcriptome, we obtained insights into the transcriptional regulatory networks of AP-1 in TNBC cells. Among the direct targets identified for Fra-1/c-Jun involved in proliferation, adhesion, and cell-cell contact, we found that AP-1 repressed the expression of E-cadherin by transcriptional upregulation of ZEB2 to stimulate cell invasion. Overall, this work illuminates the pathways through which TNBC cells acquire invasive and proliferative properties.

Diesch J, Sanij E, Gilan O, et al.
Widespread FRA1-dependent control of mesenchymal transdifferentiation programs in colorectal cancer cells.
PLoS One. 2014; 9(3):e88950 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Tumor invasion and metastasis involves complex remodeling of gene expression programs governing epithelial homeostasis. Mutational activation of the RAS-ERK is a frequent occurrence in many cancers and has been shown to drive overexpression of the AP-1 family transcription factor FRA1, a potent regulator of migration and invasion in a variety of tumor cell types. However, the nature of FRA1 transcriptional targets and the molecular pathways through which they promote tumor progression remain poorly understood. We found that FRA1 was strongly expressed in tumor cells at the invasive front of human colorectal cancers (CRCs), and that its depletion suppressed mesenchymal-like features in CRC cells in vitro. Genome-wide analysis of FRA1 chromatin occupancy and transcriptional regulation identified epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)-related genes as a major class of direct FRA1 targets in CRC cells. Expression of the pro-mesenchymal subset of these genes predicted adverse outcomes in CRC patients, and involved FRA-1-dependent regulation and cooperation with TGFβ signaling pathway. Our findings reveal an unexpectedly widespread and direct role for FRA1 in control of epithelial-mesenchymal plasticity in CRC cells, and suggest that FRA1 plays an important role in mediating cross talk between oncogenic RAS-ERK and TGFβ signaling networks during tumor progression.

Xiao S, Zhou Y, Jiang J, et al.
CD44 affects the expression level of FOS‑like antigen 1 in cervical cancer tissues.
Mol Med Rep. 2014; 9(5):1667-74 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cervical carcinoma is the second most prevalent type of malignancy in females worldwide. The crucial etiological factors involved in the development of cervical carcinoma include infection with the papillomavirus, and the structural or functional mutation of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes. CD44 refers to a multifunctional family of type I transmembrane proteins. These proteins have been implicated in numerous biological processes, including cell adhesion, cell migration and metastasis. The present study examined the differences in the expression levels of ATP-binding cassette sub-family G member 2, CD24, CD44, CD133, cytokeratin (CK) 14 and CK19 between cervical cancer tissues and corresponding normal non-tumor tissues by flow cytometry. Then, the CD44+ or CD44‑ cells from cervical cancer tissues were sorted for identification and confirmation of differential expression by flow cytometry. The results demonstrated that the expression level of CD44 in cervical cancer tissues was higher than in the corresponding non-tumor normal tissues (t=3.12; P=0.0102). Compared with the CD44‑ cells, the FOS-like antigen 1 (Fra-1), nestin, nuclear receptor subfamily 4, group A, member 2, OCT4 and p63 genes were highly expressed in CD44+ cells. The fold changes were 3.55, 3.55, 2.46, 2.87 and 2.56, respectively (P<0.05). However, BMI1 polycomb ring finger oncogene, ck5, tumor protein p53 and lactotransferrin genes exhibited low expression levels in CD44+ cells. It was verified by western blot analysis and flow cytometry that Fra-1 was highly expressed in CD44+ cells. Fra-1 was a potential target of miR-19a and miR-19b. The expression of miR-19a and miR-19b was downregulated by ~50% in CD44+ cells compared with CD44‑ cells. These findings suggested that CD44 dysregulated the activation of the Fra‑1 gene. The interaction of Fra-1 and CD44 may therefore be important in cervical carcinoma.

Kharman-Biz A, Gao H, Ghiasvand R, et al.
Expression of activator protein-1 (AP-1) family members in breast cancer.
BMC Cancer. 2013; 13:441 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The activator protein-1 (AP-1) transcription factor is believed to be important in tumorigenesis and altered AP-1 activity was associated with cell transformation. We aimed to assess the potential role of AP-1 family members as novel biomarkers in breast cancer.
METHODS: We studied the expression of AP-1 members at the mRNA level in 72 primary breast tumors and 37 adjacent non-tumor tissues and evaluated its correlation with clinicopathological parameters including estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and HER2/neu status. Expression levels of Ubiquitin C (UBC) were used for normalization. Protein expression of AP-1 members was assessed using Western blot analysis in a subset of tumors. We used student's t-test, one-way ANOVA, logistic regression and Pearson's correlation coefficient for statistical analyses.
RESULTS: We found significant differences in the expression of AP-1 family members between tumor and adjacent non-tumor tissues for all AP-1 family members except Fos B. Fra-1, Fra-2, Jun-B and Jun-D mRNA levels were significantly higher in tumors compared to adjacent non-tumor tissues (p < 0.001), whilst c-Fos and c-Jun mRNA levels were significantly lower in tumors compared with adjacent non-tumor tissues (p < 0.001). In addition, Jun-B overexpression had outstanding discrimination ability to differentiate tumor tissues from adjacent non-tumor tissues as determined by ROC curve analysis. Moreover, Fra-1 was significantly overexpressed in the tumors biochemically classified as ERα negative (p = 0.012) and PR negative (p = 0.037). Interestingly, Fra-1 expression was significantly higher in triple-negative tumors compared with luminal carcinomas (p = 0.01).
CONCLUSIONS: Expression levels of Fra-1 and Jun-B might be possible biomarkers for prognosis of breast cancer.

Kehrmann A, Truong H, Repenning A, et al.
Complementation of non-tumorigenicity of HPV18-positive cervical carcinoma cells involves differential mRNA expression of cellular genes including potential tumor suppressor genes on chromosome 11q13.
Cancer Genet. 2013 Jul-Aug; 206(7-8):279-92 [PubMed] Related Publications
The fusion between human tumorigenic cells and normal human diploid fibroblasts results in non-tumorigenic hybrid cells, suggesting a dominant role for tumor suppressor genes in the generated hybrid cells. After long-term cultivation in vitro, tumorigenic segregants may arise. The loss of tumor suppressor genes on chromosome 11q13 has been postulated to be involved in the induction of the tumorigenic phenotype of human papillomavirus (HPV)18-positive cervical carcinoma cells and their derived tumorigenic hybrid cells after subcutaneous injection in immunocompromised mice. The aim of this study was the identification of novel cellular genes that may contribute to the suppression of the tumorigenic phenotype of non-tumorigenic hybrid cells in vivo. We used cDNA microarray technology to identify differentially expressed cellular genes in tumorigenic HPV18-positive hybrid and parental HeLa cells compared to non-tumorigenic HPV18-positive hybrid cells. We detected several as yet unknown cellular genes that play a role in cell differentiation, cell cycle progression, cell-cell communication, metastasis formation, angiogenesis, antigen presentation, and immune response. Apart from the known differentially expressed genes on 11q13 (e.g., phosphofurin acidic cluster sorting protein 1 (PACS1) and FOS ligand 1 (FOSL1 or Fra-1)), we detected novel differentially expressed cellular genes located within the tumor suppressor gene region (e.g., EGF-containing fibulin-like extracellular matrix protein 2 (EFEMP2) and leucine rich repeat containing 32 (LRRC32) (also known as glycoprotein-A repetitions predominant (GARP)) that may have potential tumor suppressor functions in this model system of non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic HeLa x fibroblast hybrid cells.

Tam WL, Lu H, Buikhuisen J, et al.
Protein kinase C α is a central signaling node and therapeutic target for breast cancer stem cells.
Cancer Cell. 2013; 24(3):347-64 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The epithelial-mesenchymal transition program becomes activated during malignant progression and can enrich for cancer stem cells (CSCs). We report that inhibition of protein kinase C α (PKCα) specifically targets CSCs but has little effect on non-CSCs. The formation of CSCs from non-stem cells involves a shift from EGFR to PDGFR signaling and results in the PKCα-dependent activation of FRA1. We identified an AP-1 molecular switch in which c-FOS and FRA1 are preferentially utilized in non-CSCs and CSCs, respectively. PKCα and FRA1 expression is associated with the aggressive triple-negative breast cancers, and the depletion of FRA1 results in a mesenchymal-epithelial transition. Hence, identifying molecular features that shift between cell states can be exploited to target signaling components critical to CSCs.

Gu X, Yu JJ, Ilter D, et al.
Integration of mTOR and estrogen-ERK2 signaling in lymphangioleiomyomatosis pathogenesis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(37):14960-5 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a destructive lung disease of women associated with the metastasis of tuberin-null cells with hyperactive mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. Clinical trials with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin have revealed partial efficacy but are not curative. Pregnancy appears to exacerbate LAM, suggesting that estrogen (E2) may play a role in the unique features of LAM. Using a LAM patient-derived cell line (bearing biallelic Tuberin inactivation), we demonstrate that E2 stimulates a robust and biphasic activation of ERK2 and transcription of the late response-gene Fra1 associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In a carefully orchestrated collaboration, activated mTORC1/S6K1 signaling enhances the efficiency of Fra1 translation of Fra1 mRNA transcribed by the E2-ERK2 pathway, through the phosphorylation of the S6K1-dependent eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4B. Our results indicate that targeting the E2-ERK pathway in combination with the mTORC1 pathway may be an effective combination therapy for LAM.

O'Leary KA, Rugowski DE, Sullivan R, Schuler LA
Prolactin cooperates with loss of p53 to promote claudin-low mammary carcinomas.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(23):3075-82 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
TP53 is one of the most commonly mutated genes in cancer. In breast cancer, it is mutated in about 40% of primary clinical tumors and is associated with poor survival. The mammotrophic hormone, prolactin (PRL), and/or its receptor are also expressed in many breast cancers, and accumulating epidemiologic data link PRL to breast cancer development and progression. Like TP53 mutations, evidence for PRL activity is evident across several molecular cancer subtypes, and elevated PRL expression and loss of p53 have been observed in some of the same clinical tumors. In order to examine the interaction of these factors, we used genetically modified mouse models of mammary-specific p53 loss and local overexpression of PRL. We demonstrated that mammary PRL decreased the latency of tumors in the absence of p53, and increased the proportion of triple-negative claudin-low carcinomas, which display similarities to human clinical metaplastic carcinomas. Moreover, PRL/p53(-/-) carcinomas displayed higher rates of proliferation and more aggressive behavior. Transcripts associated with cell cycle progression, invasion and stromal reactivity were differentially expressed in carcinomas that developed in the presence of elevated PRL. PRL/p53(-/-) carcinomas also exhibited selectively altered expression of activating protein-1 components, including higher levels of c-Jun and FosL1, which can drive transcription of many of these genes and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. The ability of PRL to promote claudin-low carcinomas demonstrates that PRL can influence this subset of triple-negative breast cancers, which may have been obscured by the relative infrequency of this cancer subtype. Our findings suggest novel therapeutic approaches, and provide a preclinical model to develop possible agents.

Yang J, Zhang Z, Chen C, et al.
MicroRNA-19a-3p inhibits breast cancer progression and metastasis by inducing macrophage polarization through downregulated expression of Fra-1 proto-oncogene.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(23):3014-23 [PubMed] Related Publications
One of the hallmarks of malignancy is the polarization of tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) from a pro-immune (M1-like) phenotype to an immune-suppressive (M2-like) phenotype. However, the molecular basis of the process is still unclear. MicroRNA (miRNA) comprises a group of small, non-coding RNAs that are broadly expressed by a variety of organisms and are involved in cell behaviors such as suppression or promotion of tumorigenesis. Here, we demonstrate that miR-19a-3p, broadly conserved among vertebrates, was downregulated in RAW264.7 macrophage cells of the M2 phenotype in conditoned medium of 4T1 mouse breast tumor cells. This downregulation correlated with an increased expression of the Fra-1 gene, which was reported to act as a pro-oncogene by supporting the invasion and progression of breast tumors. We found significant upregulation of miR-19a-3p in RAW264.7 macrophages after transfection with a miR-19a-3p mimic that resulted in a significant suppression of the expression of this gene. In addition, we could measure the activity of binding between miR-19a-3p and Fra-1 with a psiCHECK luciferase reporter system. Further, transfection of RAW264.7 macrophage cells with the miR-19a-3p mimic decreased the expression of the Fra-1 downstream genes VEGF, STAT3 and pSTAT3. Most importantly, the capacity of 4T1 breast tumor cells to migrate and invade was impaired in vivo by the intratumoral injection of miR-19a-3p. Taken together, these findings indicate that miR-19a-3p is capable of downregulating the M2 phenotype in M2 macrophages and that the low expression of this miRNA has an important role in the upregulation of Fra-1 expression and induction of M2 macrophage polarization.

Ding X, Pan H, Li J, et al.
Epigenetic activation of AP1 promotes squamous cell carcinoma metastasis.
Sci Signal. 2013; 6(273):ra28.1-13, S0-15 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
The transcription factor AP1 (activating protein 1), a heterodimer of the JUN and FOS proteins, promotes the invasive growth and metastasis of various tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), breast cancer, and melanoma. AP1 activity is transcriptionally induced through a positive feedback loop. We identified the histone demethylase KDM4A (lysine-specific demethylase 4A) as a key epigenetic priming factor in this positive feedback loop. KDM4A contributed to the induction of genes encoding the AP1 transcription factors and the invasive growth and metastasis of SCC. KDM4A knockdown decreased the growth factor-induced messenger RNA expression and protein abundance of AP1 family members, including JUN and FOSL1. Mechanistically, histone demethylation by KDM4A facilitated the binding of the AP1 complex to the promoters of JUN and FOSL1, thereby promoting the positive feedback loop that maintains activation of AP1. In a mouse model of SCC, KDM4A knockdown inhibited lymph node metastasis. Moreover, the abundance of KDM4A correlated with the abundance of JUN and FOSL1 in human SCC tissues, and KDM4A expression was increased in human lymph node metastases. Our studies provide insights into the epigenetic control of AP1 and tumor invasion and suggest that KDM4A could be an important therapeutic target for inhibiting invasive SCC growth and metastasis.

Desmet CJ, Gallenne T, Prieur A, et al.
Identification of a pharmacologically tractable Fra-1/ADORA2B axis promoting breast cancer metastasis.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013; 110(13):5139-44 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
Metastasis confronts clinicians with two major challenges: estimating the patient's risk of metastasis and identifying therapeutic targets. Because they are key signal integrators connecting cellular processes to clinical outcome, we aimed to identify transcriptional nodes regulating cancer cell metastasis. Using rodent xenograft models that we previously developed, we identified the transcription factor Fos-related antigen-1 (Fra-1) as a key coordinator of metastasis. Because Fra-1 often is overexpressed in human metastatic breast cancers and has been shown to control their invasive potential in vitro, we aimed to assess the implication and prognostic significance of the Fra-1-dependent genetic program in breast cancer metastasis and to identify potential Fra-1-dependent therapeutic targets. In several in vivo assays in mice, we demonstrate that stable RNAi depletion of Fra-1 from human breast cancer cells strongly suppresses their ability to metastasize. These results support a clinically important role for Fra-1 and the genetic program it controls. We show that a Fra-1-dependent gene-expression signature accurately predicts recurrence of breast cancer. Furthermore, a synthetic lethal drug screen revealed that antagonists of the adenosine receptor A2B (ADORA2B) are preferentially toxic to breast tumor cells expressing Fra-1. Both RNAi silencing and pharmacologic blockade of ADORA2B inhibited filopodia formation and invasive activity of breast cancer cells and correspondingly reduced tumor outgrowth in the lungs. These data show that Fra-1 activity is causally involved in and is a prognostic indicator of breast cancer metastasis. They suggest that Fra-1 activity predicts responsiveness to inhibition of pharmacologically tractable targets, such as ADORA2B, which may be used for clinical interference of metastatic breast cancer.

Nottingham LK, Yan CH, Yang X, et al.
Aberrant IKKα and IKKβ cooperatively activate NF-κB and induce EGFR/AP1 signaling to promote survival and migration of head and neck cancer.
Oncogene. 2014; 33(9):1135-47 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
The inhibitor-κB kinase-nuclear factor-κB (IKK-NF-κB) and epidermal growth factor receptor-activator protein-1 (EGFR-AP1) pathways are often co-activated and promote malignant behavior, but the underlying basis for this relationship is unclear. Resistance to inhibitors of IKKβ or EGFR is observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinomas (HNSCC). Here, we reveal that both IKKα and β contribute to nuclear activation of canonical and alternate NF-κB/REL family transcription factors, and overexpression of signal components that enhance co-activation of the EGFR-AP1 pathway. We observed that IKKα and IKKβ exhibit increased protein expression, nuclear localization, and phosphorylation in HNSCC tissues and cell lines. Individually, IKK activity varied among different cell lines, but overexpression of both IKKs induced the strongest NF-κB activation. Conversely, siRNA knock down of both IKKs significantly decreased nuclear localization and phosphorylation of canonical RELA and IκBα and alternative p52 and RELB subunits. Knock down of both IKKs more effectively inhibited NF-κB activation, broadly modulated gene expression and suppressed cell proliferation and migration. Global expression profiling revealed that NF-κB, cytokine, inflammatory response and growth factor signaling are among the top pathways and networks regulated by IKKs. Importantly, IKKα and IKKβ together promoted the expression and activity of transforming growth factor α, EGFR and AP1 transcription factors cJun, JunB and Fra1. Knock down of AP1 subunits individually decreased 8/15 (53%) of IKK-targeted genes sampled and similarly inhibited cell proliferation and migration. Mutations of NF-κB and AP1-binding sites abolished or decreased IKK-induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) promoter activity. Compounds such as wedelactone with dual IKK inhibitory activity and geldanomycins that block IKKα/β and EGFR pathways were more active than IKKβ-specific inhibitors in suppressing NF-κB activation and proliferation and inducing cell death. We conclude that IKKα and IKKβ cooperatively activate NF-κB and EGFR/AP1 networks of signaling pathways and contribute to the malignant phenotype and the intrinsic or acquired therapeutic resistance of HNSCC.

Motrich RD, Castro GM, Caputto BL
Old players with a newly defined function: Fra-1 and c-Fos support growth of human malignant breast tumors by activating membrane biogenesis at the cytoplasm.
PLoS One. 2013; 8(1):e53211 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
A shared characteristic of tumor cells is their exacerbated growth. Consequently, tumor cells demand high rates of phospholipid synthesis required for membrane biogenesis to support their growth. c-Fos, in addition to its AP-1 transcription factor activity, is the only protein known up to date that is capable of activating lipid synthesis in normal and brain tumor tissue. For this latter activity, c-Fos associates to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) through its N-terminal domain and activates phospholipid synthesis, an event that requires it Basic Domain (BD) (aa 139-159). Fra-1, another member of the FOS family of proteins, is over-expressed in human breast cancer cells and its BD is highly homologous to that of c-Fos with two conservative substitutions in its basic amino acids. Consequently, herein we examined if Fra-1 and/or c-Fos participate in growth of breast cancer cells by activating phospholipid synthesis as found previously for c-Fos in brain tumors. We found both Fra-1 and c-Fos over-expressed in >95% of human ductal breast carcinoma biopsies examined contrasting with the very low or undetectable levels in normal tissue. Furthermore, both proteins associate to the ER and activate phospholipid synthesis in cultured MCF7 and MDA-MB231 breast cancer cells and in human breast cancer samples. Stripping tumor membranes of Fra-1 and c-Fos prior to assaying their lipid synthesis capacity in vitro results in non-activated lipid synthesis levels that are restored to their initial activated state by addition of Fra-1 and/or c-Fos to the assays. In MDA-MB231 cells primed to proliferate, blocking Fra-1 and c-Fos with neutralizing antibodies blocks lipid-synthesis activation and cells do not proliferate. Taken together, these results disclose the cytoplasmic activity of Fra-1 and c-Fos as potential targets for controlling growth of breast carcinomas by decreasing the rate of membrane biogenesis required for growth.

Lockwood WW, Zejnullahu K, Bradner JE, Varmus H
Sensitivity of human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines to targeted inhibition of BET epigenetic signaling proteins.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012; 109(47):19408-13 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
Bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins function as epigenetic signaling factors that associate with acetylated histones and facilitate transcription of target genes. Inhibitors targeting the activity of BET proteins have shown potent antiproliferative effects in hematological cancers through the suppression of c-MYC and downstream target genes. However, as the epigenetic landscape of a cell varies drastically depending on lineage, transcriptional coactivators such as BETs would be expected to have different targets in cancers derived from different cells of origin, and this may influence the activity and mechanism of action of BET inhibitors. To test this hypothesis, we treated a panel of lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) cell lines with the BET inhibitor JQ1 and found that a subset is acutely susceptible to BET inhibition. In contrast to blood tumors, we show that LAC cells are inhibited by JQ1 through a mechanism independent of c-MYC down-regulation. Through gene expression profiling, we discovered that the oncogenic transcription factor FOSL1 and its targets are suppressed by JQ1 in a dose-dependant manner. Knockdown of BRD4 also decreased FOSL1 levels, and inhibition of FOSL1 phenocopied the effects of JQ1 treatment, suggesting that loss of this transcription factor may be partly responsible for the cytotoxic effects of BET inhibition in LAC cells, although ectopic expression of FOSL1 alone did not rescue the phenotype. Together, these findings suggest that BET inhibitors may be useful in solid tumors and that cell-lineage-specific differences in transcriptional targets of BETs may influence the activity of inhibitors of these proteins in different cancer types.

Ferraro A, Mourtzoukou D, Kosmidou V, et al.
EZH2 is regulated by ERK/AKT and targets integrin alpha2 gene to control Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition and anoikis in colon cancer cells.
Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2013; 45(2):243-54 [PubMed] Related Publications
Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition is a good example of cell plasticity. In tumorigenesis, this process has been associated with metastasis. Overexpression of EZH2 has been detected in most malignant human tumors, including colorectal carcinomas. Herein, we provide evidence supporting the idea that oncogenic Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in colon cancer cell models is partially controlled by epigenetic factors such as the transcription regulator EZH2. Evaluation of EZH2 mRNA and protein levels revealed overexpression in cell lines with metastatic traits. Analysis of EZH2 mRNA expression was expanded in clinical samples of colon cancer, and high level of EZH2 correlates with appearance of metastasis. Furthermore, inhibition of ERK and AKT pathways in metastatic colon cancer cell lines attenuates EZH2 overexpression. EZH2 promoter analysis illustrates presence of putative AP-1 binding sites and occupancy of transcription factors such as FRA-1 and C-JUN is demonstrated here on EZH2 promoter. Abrogation of EZH2 expression impairs the ability of colon cancer cells to move associated with anoikis in three-dimensional environment. Integrin alpha2 was identified to be a novel EZH2 target by chromatin immunoprecipitation and short hairpin RNA analysis. This study proposes that activation of ERK/AKT pathways and FRA1/C-JUN induce EZH2 overexpression, which results in Integrin alpha2 silencing. Our results show how deregulation of epigenetic factors and mechanisms can affect cancer cell aggressiveness and propose EZH2 as a potential metastasis marker and/or therapeutic target for colorectal cancer treatment.

Shin SY, Choi C, Lee HG, et al.
Transcriptional regulation of the interleukin-11 gene by oncogenic Ras.
Carcinogenesis. 2012; 33(12):2467-76 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interleukin-11 (IL-11), which belongs to a class of IL6-type cytokines, plays an important role in inflammation, motility and invasion in cancer. The ras mutation is frequently found in human cancer, but little is known regarding the transcriptional activation of the IL-11 gene by the Ras signal pathway in tumour cells. In this study, we investigated the role of Ras in the regulation of IL-11 using two different cell model systems: mouse NIH3T3 cells over-expressing oncogenic Ras with a tet-on system and Capan-1 human pancreatic carcinoma cells harbouring a K-ras mutation. We found that IL-11 expression was up-regulated at the transcriptional level by oncogenic Ras. Activation of the AP-1 response element, located between -153 and -30 in the 5'-regulatory region of the IL-11 gene, was necessary for oncogenic Ras-induced IL-11 promoter activation. AP-1 proteins, including Fra-1 and Fra-2, were up-regulated through the Raf/MEK and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathways by oncogenic Ras. Knockdown of Fra-1 by siRNA in NIH3T3 or Capan-1 cells strongly attenuated oncogenic Ras-induced IL-11 expression. Additionally, inhibition of JNK, p38 and Stat3 abrogated oncogenic Ras-induced IL-11 expression. These results suggest that both the PI3K and Raf pathways are necessary for the expression of IL-11 in oncogenic Ras-mutated cells, and that JNK, p38 and Stat3 also contribute to oncogenic Ras-induced IL-11 expression.

Yang S, Li Y, Gao J, et al.
MicroRNA-34 suppresses breast cancer invasion and metastasis by directly targeting Fra-1.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(36):4294-303 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNAs have key roles in tumor metastasis. Here, we describe the regulation and function of miR-34a and miR-34c (miR-34a/c) in breast cancer metastasis. Expression analysis verified that miR-34a/c expression is significantly decreased in metastatic breast cancer cells and human primary breast tumors with lymph node metastases. Overexpression of miR-34a/c could inhibit breast cancer cell migration and invasion in vitro and distal pulmonary metastasis in vivo. Further studies revealed that Fos-related antigen 1 (Fra-1 or Fosl1) is a downstream target of miR-34a/c as miR-34a/c bound directly to the 3'untranslated region of Fra-1, subsequently reducing both the mRNA and protein levels of Fra-1. Silencing of Fra-1 recapitulated the effects of miR-34a/c overexpression, whereas enforced expression of Fra-1 reverses the suppressive effects of miR-34a/c. Moreover, significant downregulation of miR-34a in metastatic breast cancer tissues was found to be inversely correlated with Fra-1 expression. Our results demonstrate that miR-34a/c functions as a metastasis suppressor to regulate breast cancer migration and invasion through targeting Fra-1 oncogene and suggest a therapeutic application of miR-34 in breast cancer.

Sundqvist A, Zieba A, Vasilaki E, et al.
Specific interactions between Smad proteins and AP-1 components determine TGFβ-induced breast cancer cell invasion.
Oncogene. 2013; 32(31):3606-15 [PubMed] Related Publications
Deregulation of the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) signal transduction cascade is functionally linked to cancer. In early phases, TGFβ acts as a tumor suppressor by inhibiting tumor cell proliferation, whereas in late phases, it can act as a tumor promoter by stimulating tumor cell invasion and metastasis. Smad transcriptional effectors mediate TGFβ responses, but relatively little is known about the Smad-containing complexes that are important for epithelial-mesenchymal transition and invasion. In this study, we have tested the hypothesis that specific members of the AP-1 transcription factor family determine TGFβ signaling specificity in breast cancer cell invasion. Using a 3D model of collagen-embedded spheroids of MCF10A-MII premalignant human breast cancer cells, we identified the AP-1 transcription factor components c-Jun, JunB, c-Fos and Fra1 as essential factors for TGFβ-induced invasion and found that various mesenchymal and invasion-associated TGFβ-induced genes are co-regulated by these proteins. In situ proximity ligation assays showed that TGFβ signaling not only induces complexes between Smad3 and Smad4 in the nucleus but also complexes between Smad2/3 and Fra1, whereas complexes between Smad3, c-Jun and JunB could already be detected before TGFβ stimulation. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitations showed that c-Jun, JunB and Fra1, but not c-Fos, are required for TGFβ-induced binding of Smad2/3 to the mmp-10 and pai-1 promoters. Together these results suggest that in particular formation of Smad2/3-Fra1 complexes may reflect activation of the Smad/AP-1-dependent TGFβ-induced invasion program.

Ijssennagger N, de Wit N, Müller M, van der Meer R
Dietary heme-mediated PPARα activation does not affect the heme-induced epithelial hyperproliferation and hyperplasia in mouse colon.
PLoS One. 2012; 7(8):e43260 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
Red meat consumption is associated with an increased colon cancer risk. Heme, present in red meat, injures the colon surface epithelium by luminal cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species. This surface injury is overcompensated by hyperproliferation and hyperplasia of crypt cells. Transcriptome analysis of mucosa of heme-fed mice showed, besides stress- and proliferation-related genes, many upregulated lipid metabolism-related PPARα target genes. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of PPARα in heme-induced hyperproliferation and hyperplasia. Male PPARα KO and WT mice received a purified diet with or without heme. As PPARα is proposed to protect against oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, we hypothesized that the absence of PPARα leads to more surface injury and crypt hyperproliferation in the colon upon heme-feeding. Heme induced luminal cytotoxicity and lipid peroxidation and colonic hyperproliferation and hyperplasia to the same extent in WT and KO mice. Transcriptome analysis of colonic mucosa confirmed similar heme-induced hyperproliferation in WT and KO mice. Stainings for alkaline phosphatase activity and expression levels of Vanin-1 and Nrf2-targets indicated a compromised antioxidant defense in heme-fed KO mice. Our results suggest that the protective role of PPARα in antioxidant defense involves the Nrf2-inhibitor Fosl1, which is upregulated by heme in PPARα KO mice. We conclude that PPARα plays a protective role in colon against oxidative stress, but PPARα does not mediate heme-induced hyperproliferation. This implies that oxidative stress of surface cells is not the main determinant of heme-induced hyperproliferation and hyperplasia.

Simpkins F, Hevia-Paez P, Sun J, et al.
Src Inhibition with saracatinib reverses fulvestrant resistance in ER-positive ovarian cancer models in vitro and in vivo.
Clin Cancer Res. 2012; 18(21):5911-23 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
PURPOSE: More effective, less toxic treatments for recurrent ovarian cancer are needed. Although more than 60% of ovarian cancers express the estrogen receptor (ER), ER-targeted drugs have been disappointing due to drug resistance. In other estrogen-sensitive cancers, estrogen activates Src to phosphorylate p27 promoting its degradation and increasing cell-cycle progression. Because Src is activated in most ovarian cancers, we investigated whether combined Src and ER blockade by saracatinib and fulvestrant would circumvent antiestrogen resistance.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: ER and Src were assayed in 338 primary ovarian cancers. Dual ER and Src blockade effects on cell cycle, ER target gene expression, and survival were assayed in ERα+ ovarian cancer lines, a primary human ovarian cancer culture in vitro, and on xenograft growth.
RESULTS: Most primary ovarian cancers express ER. Src activity was greater in ovarian cancer lines than normal epithelial lines. Estrogen activated Src, ER-Src binding, and ER translocation from cytoplasm to nucleus. Estrogen-mediated mitogenesis was via ERα, not ERβ. While each alone had little effect, combined saracatinib and fulvestrant increased p27 and inhibited cyclin E-Cdk2 and cell-cycle progression. Saracatinib also impaired induction of ER-target genes c-Myc and FOSL1; this was greatest with dual therapy. Combined therapy induced autophagy and more effectively inhibited ovarian cancer xenograft growth than monotherapy.
CONCLUSIONS: Saracatinib augments effects of fulvestrant by opposing estrogen-mediated Src activation and target gene expression, increasing cell-cycle arrest, and impairing survival, all of which would oppose antiestrogen resistance in these ER+ ovarian cancer models. These data support further preclinical and clinical evaluation of combined fulvestrant and saracatinib in ovarian cancer.

Stelniec-Klotz I, Legewie S, Tchernitsa O, et al.
Reverse engineering a hierarchical regulatory network downstream of oncogenic KRAS.
Mol Syst Biol. 2012; 8:601 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
RAS mutations are highly relevant for progression and therapy response of human tumours, but the genetic network that ultimately executes the oncogenic effects is poorly understood. Here, we used a reverse-engineering approach in an ovarian cancer model to reconstruct KRAS oncogene-dependent cytoplasmic and transcriptional networks from perturbation experiments based on gene silencing and pathway inhibitor treatments. We measured mRNA and protein levels in manipulated cells by microarray, RT-PCR and western blot analysis, respectively. The reconstructed model revealed complex interactions among the transcriptional and cytoplasmic components, some of which were confirmed by double pertubation experiments. Interestingly, the transcription factors decomposed into two hierarchically arranged groups. To validate the model predictions, we analysed growth parameters and transcriptional deregulation in the KRAS-transformed epithelial cells. As predicted by the model, we found two functional groups among the selected transcription factors. The experiments thus confirmed the predicted hierarchical transcription factor regulation and showed that the hierarchy manifests itself in downstream gene expression patterns and phenotype.

Meise R, Tomicic MT, Kaina B, Christmann M
The chloroethylating anticancer drug ACNU induces FRA1 that is involved in drug resistance of glioma cells.
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012; 1823(7):1199-207 [PubMed] Related Publications
FRA1 belongs, together with c-Fos and FosB, to the family of Fos proteins that form with members of the ATF and Jun family the transcription factor AP-1 (activator protein 1). Previously we showed that c-Fos protects mouse embryonic fibroblasts against the cytotoxic effects of ultraviolet (UV) light by induction of the endonuclease XPF, leading to enhanced nucleotide excision repair (NER) activity. Here, we analyzed the regulation of FRA1 in glioma cells treated with the anticancer drug nimustine (ACNU) and its role in ACNU-induced toxicity. We show that FRA1 is upregulated in glioblastoma cells following ACNU on mRNA and protein levels. Knockdown of FRA1 by either siRNA or shRNA clearly sensitized glioma cells towards ACNU-induced cell death. Despite decreased AP-1 binding activity upon FRA1 knockdown, this effect is independent on regulation of the AP-1 target genes fasL, ercc1 and xpf. In addition, FRA1 knockdown does not affect DNA repair capacity. However, lack of FRA1 attenuated the ACNU-induced phosphorylation of CHK1 and led to a reduced arrest of cells in G2/M and, thereby, presumably leads to enhanced cell death in the subsequent cell cycle.

Lu D, Chen S, Tan X, et al.
Fra-1 promotes breast cancer chemosensitivity by driving cancer stem cells from dormancy.
Cancer Res. 2012; 72(14):3451-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Fra-1 is a member of the Fos transcription factor family that is highly expressed in multiple cancers, playing important roles in transformation, proliferation, and metastasis. In this study, we observed an inverse correlation between the expression of Fra-1 in human stage II breast cancer tissues and the corresponding level of clinical chemoresistance. Extending these findings in vitro, we found that knockdown of Fra-1 in breast tumor cells was sufficient to confer resistance to doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide, whereas enhanced Fra-1 expression could render these cells chemosensitive. The tumor cell side population, which is enriched for cancer stem cells, was found to be associated with chemoresistance. Increased side population fractions were detected among tumor cell lines subjected to Fra-1 knockdown. In contrast, enhanced expression of Fra-1 was correlated with a decreased side population fraction, and significantly, this finding was recapitulated in vivo, where tumors with enhanced expression of Fra-1 were found to have blunted growth. Tumor cells subjected to Fra-1 knockdown grew faster and were larger in size. Taken together, our findings suggest that Fra-1 may be an important prognostic marker for breast cancer therapy.

Wang YG, Kim SJ, Baek JH, et al.
Galectin-3 increases the motility of mouse melanoma cells by regulating matrix metalloproteinase-1 expression.
Exp Mol Med. 2012; 44(6):387-93 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
Although mounting evidence indicates the involvement of galectin-3 in cancer progression and metastasis, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the effect and possible mechanism of galectin-3 on the migration and invasion of B16F10, a metastatic melanoma cell line, in which galectin-3 and matrix metalloproteinase- 1 (MMP-1) were both found to be highly expressed. Knockdown of galectin-3 with specific siRNA reduced migration and invasion, which was associated with reduced expression of MMP-1. To further investigate the underlying mechanism, we examined the effect of galectin-3 knockdown on the activity of AP-1, a transcriptional factor regulating MMP-1 expression. We found that galectin-3 directly interacted with AP-1 and facilitated the binding of this complex to the MMP-1 promoter that drives MMP-1 transcription. Moreover, silencing of galectin-3 inhibited binding of fra-1 and c-Jun to promoter sites of MMP-1 gene. Consistent with these in vitro findings, our in vivo study demonstrated that galectin-3 shRNA treatment significantly reduced the total number of mouse lung metastatic nodules. Taken together, galectin- 3 facilitates cell migration and invasion in melanoma in vitro and can induce metastasis in vivo, in part through, regulating the transcription activity of AP-1 and thereby up-regulating MMP-1 expression.

Macchia G, Trombetta D, Möller E, et al.
FOSL1 as a candidate target gene for 11q12 rearrangements in desmoplastic fibroblastoma.
Lab Invest. 2012; 92(5):735-43 [PubMed] Related Publications
Desmoplastic fibroblastoma (DF) is a benign fibroblastic/myofibroblastic tumor. Cytogenetic analyses have revealed consistent rearrangement of chromosome band 11q12, strongly suggesting that this region harbors a gene of pathogenetic importance. To identify the target gene of the 11q12 rearrangements, we analyzed six cases diagnosed as DF using chromosome banding, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), single-nucleotide polymorphism array and gene expression approaches. Different structural rearrangements involving 11q12 were found in five of the six cases. Metaphase FISH analyses in two of them mapped the 11q12 breakpoints to an ~20-kb region, harboring FOSL1. Global gene expression profiling followed by quantitative real-time PCR showed that FOSL1 was expressed at higher levels in DF with 11q12 rearrangements than in desmoid-type fibromatoses. Furthermore, FOSL1 was not upregulated in the single case of DF that did not show cytogenetic involvement of 11q12; instead this tumor was found to display a hemizygous loss on 5q, including the APC (adenomatous polyposis coli) locus, raising the possibility that it actually was a misdiagnosed Gardner fibroma. 5'RACE-PCR in two 11q12-positive DF did not identify any fusion transcripts. Thus, in agreement with the finding at chromosome banding analysis that varying translocation partners are involved in the 11q12 rearrangement, the molecular data suggest that the functional outcome of the 11q12 rearrangements is deregulated expression of FOSL1.

Henken FE, De-Castro Arce J, Rösl F, et al.
The functional role of Notch signaling in HPV-mediated transformation is dose-dependent and linked to AP-1 alterations.
Cell Oncol (Dordr). 2012; 35(2):77-84 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The role of Notch signaling in HPV-mediated transformation has been a long standing debate, as both tumor suppressive and oncogenic properties have been described. We examined whether the dual findings in literature may be explained by gene dosage effects and determined the relation with AP-1, a downstream target of Notch.
METHODS: SiHa cervical cancer cells were transfected with two doses of intracellular active Notch. Non-tumorigenic HPV16-immortalized keratinocytes (FK16A) were transfected with Fra1 specific siRNAs and non-targeting controls. Transfectants were analysed for Notch, Hes, cJun, cFos and Fra1 mRNA expression, Notch pathway activation using luciferase assays, cell viability using MTT assays, anchorage independent growth, AP-1 activity and/or AP-1 complex composition using EMSA.
RESULTS: In SiHa cells two activation states of Notch signaling pathway were obtained. Moderate Notch activation contributed to increased viability and anchorage independent growth, whereas high level Notch activation decreased anchorage independent growth. The shift in phenotypical outcome was correlated to altered AP-1 activity and complex composition. Moderate Notch expression led to an increased AP-1 transcriptional activity and DNA binding activity, but did not affect complex composition. High levels of Notch additionally led to a change in AP-1 complex composition, from cJun/cFos to cJun/Fra1 dimers, which is exemplary for non-tumorigenic HPV-immortalized cell lines. Conversely, silencing of Fra1 in non-tumorigenic HPV16-immortalized keratinocytes, leading to an enrichment of cJun/cFos dimers, was accompanied with increased colony formation.
CONCLUSION: The functional role of Notch in HPV-mediated transformation is dosage dependent and correlated to a change in AP-1.

Wu J, Wu G, Lv L, et al.
MicroRNA-34a inhibits migration and invasion of colon cancer cells via targeting to Fra-1.
Carcinogenesis. 2012; 33(3):519-28 [PubMed] Related Publications
MicroRNA-34a (miR-34a), a transcriptional target of p53, is a well-known tumor suppressor gene. Here, we identified Fra-1 as a new target of miR-34a and demonstrated that miR-34a inhibits Fra-1 expression at both protein and messenger RNA levels. In addition, we found that p53 indirectly regulates Fra-1 expression via a miR-34a-dependant manner in colon cancer cells. Overexpression of miR-34a strongly inhibited colon cancer cell migration and invasion, which can be partially rescued by forced expression of the Fra-1 transcript lacking the 3'-untranslated region. The expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-1 and MMP-9, two enzymes involved in cell migration and invasion, was decreased in miR-34a-transfected cells, and this can be rescued by Fra-1 overexpression. Moreover, we found that miR-34a was downregulated in 25 of 40 (62.5%) colon cancer tissues, as compared with the adjacent normal colon tissues and that the expression of miR-34a was correlated with the DNA-binding activity of p53. Unexpectedly, the DNA-binding activity of p53 was not inversely correlated with Fra-1 expression, and a significant statistical inverse correlation between miR-34a and Fra-1 expression was only observed in 14 of 40 (35%) colon cancer tissues. Taken together, our in vitro data suggest that p53 regulates Fra-1 expression, and eventually cell migration/invasion, via a miR-34a-dependent manner. However, in vivo data indicate that the p53-miR-34a pathway is not the major regulator of Fra-1 expression in human colon cancer tissues.

Usui A, Hoshino I, Akutsu Y, et al.
The molecular role of Fra-1 and its prognostic significance in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma.
Cancer. 2012; 118(13):3387-96 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: The expression of Fra-1 (Fos related antigen 1) involves tumor progression and invasion, and its gene ablation could suppress the invasive phenotypes of human tumor cells. The authors investigated the significance of Fra-1 expression in esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) and studied the effect of its down-regulation on cell proliferation, motility, and invasion.
METHODS: Surgical specimens from 164 patients with ESCC were evaluated. Fra-1 expression in the primary tumor along with metastatic lymph nodes was compared among various clinicopathological characteristics, and overall survival was analyzed. The rate and intensity of Fra-1 immunoreactivity were also investigated. The molecular role of Fra-1 was assessed by its down-regulation in human ESCC cell lines.
RESULTS: Fra-1 expression was positive in 127 (77.4%) ESCC patients. Immunoreactivity was localized to the marginal areas of the ESCC tumors. Positive Fra-1 expression correlated with depth of tumor, lymph node metastasis, stage, and infiltrative growth pattern. A significant difference was seen in the survival between tumors with and without Fra-1, and positive Fra-1 expression was revealed to be an independent factor related to poor prognosis. Patients with metastatic lymph nodes with positive Fra-1 expression presented decreased survival compared with negative Fra-1 expression. After the down-regulation of Fra-1 expression, a significant decrease in cell proliferation, motility, and invasion was observed.
CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated ESCC patients positive for Fra-1 to be associated with poor prognosis. The findings also suggest that Fra-1 regulation may play an important role in the progression of ESCC.

Jin Y, Wang C, Liu X, et al.
Molecular characterization of the microRNA-138-Fos-like antigen 1 (FOSL1) regulatory module in squamous cell carcinoma.
J Biol Chem. 2011; 286(46):40104-9 [PubMed] Article available free on PMC after 05/06/2015 Related Publications
MicroRNA-138 is one of the most frequently down-regulated microRNAs in cancer. We recently identified 51 candidate targets of microRNA-138 (Jiang, L., Dai, Y., Liu, X., Wang, C., Wang, A., Chen, Z., Heidbreder, C. E., Kolokythas, A., and Zhou, X. (2011) Hum. Genet. 129, 189-197). Among these candidates, Fos-like antigen 1 (FOSL1) is a member of Fos gene family and is a known proto-oncogene. In this study, we first confirmed the microRNA-138-mediated down-regulation of FOSL1 in squamous cell carcinoma cell lines. We then demonstrated the effect of this microRNA-138-FOSL1 regulatory module on downstream genes (homolog of Snail 2 (Snai2) expression and the Snai2-mediated repression of E-cadherin expression), as well as its contributions to tumorigenesis. The microRNA-138-directed recruitment of FOSL1 mRNA to the RNAi-induced silencing complex was confirmed by a ribonucleoprotein-immunoprecipitation assay. Three canonical and three high affinity non-canonical microRNA-138 (miR-138) targeting sites were identified on the FOSL1 mRNA: one in the 5'-UTR, three overlapping sites in the coding sequences, and two overlapping sites in the 3'-UTR. The direct targeting of miR-138 to these sites was confirmed using luciferase reporter gene assays. In summary, we describe an important microRNA regulatory module, which may play an important role in cancer initiation and progression. Our results also provide evidence that microRNAs target both canonical and non-canonical targeting sites located in all areas of the mRNA molecule (e.g. 5'-UTR, coding sequences, and 3'-UTR).

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