Gene Summary

Gene:HOXB3; homeobox B3
Aliases: HOX2, HOX2G, Hox-2.7
Summary:This gene is a member of the Antp homeobox family and encodes a nuclear protein with a homeobox DNA-binding domain. It is included in a cluster of homeobox B genes located on chromosome 17. The encoded protein functions as a sequence-specific transcription factor that is involved in development. Increased expression of this gene is associated with a distinct biologic subset of acute myeloid leukemia (AML). [provided by RefSeq, Jul 2008]
Databases:OMIM, HGNC, Ensembl, GeneCard, Gene
Protein:homeobox protein Hox-B3
Source:NCBIAccessed: 30 August, 2019


What does this gene/protein do?
Show (16)

Cancer Overview

Research Indicators

Publications Per Year (1994-2019)
Graph generated 31 August 2019 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.

  • Cancer Gene Expression Regulation
  • Base Sequence
  • siRNA
  • Estrogen Receptors
  • fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 3
  • MicroRNAs
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • beta Catenin
  • Leukemic Gene Expression Regulation
  • Cell Movement
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Lung Cancer
  • Young Adult
  • Acute Myeloid Leukaemia
  • Myeloid Leukemia
  • Apoptosis
  • Translocation
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Homeobox Genes
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • DNA (Cytosine-5-)-Methyltransferases
  • Chromosome 17
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Epigenetics
  • Drug Resistance
  • DNA Methylation
  • Xenograft Models
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Leukaemia
  • Breast Cancer
  • Promoter Regions
  • Transcription Factors
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Up-Regulation
  • Transfection
  • RT-PCR
Tag cloud generated 30 August, 2019 using data from PubMed, MeSH and CancerIndex

Specific Cancers (5)

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: HOXB3 (cancer-related)

Bi L, Zhou B, Li H, et al.
A novel miR-375-HOXB3-CDCA3/DNMT3B regulatory circuitry contributes to leukemogenesis in acute myeloid leukemia.
BMC Cancer. 2018; 18(1):182 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous group of hematopoietic malignancies due to sophisticated genetic mutations and epigenetic dysregulation. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), a class of small non-coding RNAs, are important regulators of gene expression in all biological processes, including leukemogenesis. Recently, miR-375 has been reported to be a suppressive miRNA in multiple types of cancers, but its underlying anti-leukemia activity in AML is largely unknown.
METHODS: Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) was used to measure the expression of miR-375 and HOXB3 in leukemic cells and normal controls. Targets of miR-375 were confirmed by western blot and luciferase assay. Phenotypic effects of miR-375 overexpression and HOXB3 knockdown were assessed using viability (trypan blue exclusion assay), colony formation/replating, as well as tumor xenograft assays in vivo.
RESULTS: The expression of miR-375 was substantially decreased in leukemic cell lines and primary AML blasts compared with normal controls, because DNA hypermethylation of precursor-miR-375 (pre-miR-375) promoter was discovered in leukemic cells but not in normal controls. Lower expression of miR-375 predicted poor outcome in AML patients. Furthermore, forced expression of miR-375 not only decreased proliferation and colony formation in leukemic cells but also reduced xenograft tumor size and prolonged the survival time in a leukemia xenograft mouse model. Mechanistically, overexpression of miR-375 reduced HOXB3 expression and repressed the activity of a luciferase reporter through binding 3'-untranslated regions (3'-UTR) of HOXB3 mRNA. Overexpression of HOXB3 partially blocked miR-375-induced arrest of proliferation and reduction of colony number, suggesting that HOXB3 plays an important role in miR-375-induced anti-leukemia activity. Knockdown of HOXB3 by short hairpin RNAs reduced the expression of cell division cycle associated 3 (CDCA3), which decreased cell proliferation. Furthermore, HOXB3 induced DNA methyltransferase 3B (DNMT3B) expression to bind in the pre-miR-375 promoter and enhanced DNA hypermethylation of pre-miR-375, leading to the lower expression of miR-375.
CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, we have identified a miR-375-HOXB3-CDCA3/DNMT3B regulatory circuitry which contributes to leukemogenesis and suggests a therapeutic strategy of restoring miR-375 expression in AML.

Miller KR, Patel JN, Zhang Q, et al.
HOXA4/HOXB3 gene expression signature as a biomarker of recurrence in patients with high-grade serous ovarian cancer following primary cytoreductive surgery and first-line adjuvant chemotherapy.
Gynecol Oncol. 2018; 149(1):155-162 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVES: Aberrant homeobox (HOX) gene expression is reported in high-grade serous ovarian carcinoma (HGSOC), however, its prognostic significance remains unclear.
METHODS: HOX genes associated with progression-free survival (PFS) in a discovery cohort of primary HGSOC samples with RNA sequencing data, and those previously reported to be associated with clinical outcomes, were selected for qPCR testing in an independent training cohort of primary HGSOC samples (n=71). A prognostic model for PFS was developed using univariate and multivariate Cox regression. Patients were stratified into risk groups that optimized the test statistic. The model was tested in an independent HGSOC cohort from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) (n=320). The effect of selected HOX genes on drug sensitivity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation was examined in vitro.
RESULTS: Of 23 HOX genes tested in the training cohort, HOXA4 (HR=1.20, 95% CI=1.07-1.34, P=0.002) and HOXB3 (HR=1.09, 95% CI=1.01-1.17, P=0.027) overexpression were significantly associated with shorter PFS in multivariate analysis. Based on the optimal cutoff of the HOXA4/HOXB3 risk score, median PFS was 16.9months (95% CI=14.6-21.2months) and not reached (>80months) for patients with high and low risk scores, respectively (HR=8.89, 95% CI=2.09-37.74, P<0.001). In TCGA, the HOXA4/HOXB3 risk score was significantly associated with disease-free survival (HR=1.44, 95% CI=1.00-2.09, P=0.048). HOXA4 or HOXB3 overexpression in ovarian cancer cells decreased sensitivity to cisplatin and attenuated the generation of cisplatin-induced ROS (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS: HOXA4/HOXB3 gene expression-based risk score may be useful for prognostic risk stratification and warrants prospective validation in HGSOC patients.

Fu H, Fu L, Xie C, et al.
miR-375 inhibits cancer stem cell phenotype and tamoxifen resistance by degrading HOXB3 in human ER-positive breast cancer.
Oncol Rep. 2017; 37(2):1093-1099 [PubMed] Related Publications
Cancer stem cell (CSC) formation and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are pivotal events in tumor cell invasion and metastasis. They have been shown to occur in resistance to tamoxifen. Moreover, microRNAs (miRNAs) have been associated with CSCs, EMT as well as tamoxifen resistance. Studying molecular mechanism of CSCs, EMT as well as tamoxifen resistance will help us to further understand the pathogenesis and progression of the disease and offer new targets for effective therapies. In the present study, we showed that miR-375 inhibits CSC traits in breast cancer MCF-7 cells. Bioinformatics analysis and experimental validation identified HOXB3 as a direct target of miR-375. Overexpressing miR-375 degraded HOXB3 mRNA in MCF-7 cells. Moreover, overexpression of HOXB3 induced formation of CSC phenotypes, EMT and tamoxifen-resistance as well as enhanced ability of migration and invasion in MCF-7 cells. Most ER-positive breast cancer-related deaths occur, because of resistance to standard therapies and metastasis, restoring miR-375 or targeting HOXB3 might serve as potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer.

Daugaard I, Dominguez D, Kjeldsen TE, et al.
Identification and validation of candidate epigenetic biomarkers in lung adenocarcinoma.
Sci Rep. 2016; 6:35807 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Lung cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism that regulates gene expression, and disease-specific methylation changes can be targeted as biomarkers. We have compared the genome-wide methylation pattern in tumor and tumor-adjacent normal lung tissue from four lung adenocarcinoma (LAC) patients using DNA methylation microarrays and identified 74 differentially methylated regions (DMRs). Eighteen DMRs were selected for validation in a cohort comprising primary tumors from 52 LAC patients and tumor-adjacent normal lung tissue from 32 patients by methylation-sensitive high resolution melting (MS-HRM) analysis. Significant increases in methylation were confirmed for 15 DMRs associated with the genes and genomic regions: OSR1, SIM1, GHSR, OTX2, LOC648987, HIST1H3E, HIST1H3G/HIST1H2BI, HIST1H2AJ/HIST1H2BM, HOXD10, HOXD3, HOXB3/HOXB4, HOXA3, HOXA5, Chr1(q21.1).A, and Chr6(p22.1). In particular the OSR1, SIM1 and HOXB3/HOXB4 regions demonstrated high potential as biomarkers in LAC. For OSR1, hypermethylation was detected in 47/48 LAC cases compared to 1/31 tumor-adjacent normal lung samples. Similarly, 45/49 and 36/48 LAC cases compared to 3/31 and 0/31 tumor-adjacent normal lung samples showed hypermethylation of the SIM1 and HOXB3/HOXB4 regions, respectively. In conclusion, this study has identified and validated 15 DMRs that can be targeted as biomarkers in LAC.

Lindblad O, Chougule RA, Moharram SA, et al.
The role of HOXB2 and HOXB3 in acute myeloid leukemia.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2015; 467(4):742-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous aggressive disease and the most common form of adult leukemia. Mutations in the type III receptor tyrosine kinase FLT3 are found in more than 30% of AML patients. Drugs against FLT3 have been developed for the treatment of AML, but they lack specificity, show poor response and lead to the development of a resistant phenotype upon treatment. Therefore, a deeper understanding of FLT3 signaling will facilitate identification of additional pharmacological targets in FLT3-driven AML. In this report, we identify HOXB2 and HOXB3 as novel regulators of oncogenic FLT3-ITD-driven AML. We show that HOXB2 and HOXB3 expression is upregulated in a group of AML patients carrying FLT3-ITD. Overexpression of HOXB2 or HOXB3 in mouse pro-B cells resulted in decreased FLT3-ITD-dependent cell proliferation as well as colony formation and increased apoptosis. Expression of HOXB2 or HOXB3 resulted in a significant decrease in FLT3-ITD-induced AKT, ERK, p38 and STAT5 phosphorylation. Our data suggest that HOXB2 and HOXB3 act as tumor suppressors in FLT3-ITD driven AML.

Qu X, Davison J, Du L, et al.
Identification of differentially methylated markers among cytogenetic risk groups of acute myeloid leukemia.
Epigenetics. 2015; 10(6):526-35 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Aberrant DNA methylation is known to occur in cancer, including hematological malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, less is known about whether specific methylation profiles characterize specific subcategories of AML. We examined this issue by using comprehensive high-throughput array-based relative methylation analysis (CHARM) to compare methylation profiles among patients in different AML cytogenetic risk groups. We found distinct profiles in each group, with the high-risk group showing overall increased methylation compared with low- and mid-risk groups. The differentially methylated regions (DMRs) distinguishing cytogenetic risk groups of AML were enriched in the CpG island shores. Specific risk-group associated DMRs were located near genes previously known to play a role in AML or other malignancies, such as MN1, UHRF1, HOXB3, and HOXB4, as well as TRIM71, the function of which in cancer is not well characterized. These findings were verified by quantitative bisulfite pyrosequencing and by comparison with results available at the TCGA cancer genome browser. To explore the potential biological significance of the observed methylation changes, we correlated our findings with gene expression data available through the TCGA database. The results showed that decreased methylation at HOXB3 and HOXB4 was associated with increased gene expression of both HOXB genes specific to the mid-risk AML, while increased DNA methylation at DCC distinctive to the high-risk AML was associated with increased gene expression. Our results suggest that the differential impact of cytogenetic changes on AML prognosis may, in part, be mediated by changes in methylation.

Xavier FC, Destro MF, Duarte CM, Nunes FD
Epigenetic repression of HOXB cluster in oral cancer cell lines.
Arch Oral Biol. 2014; 59(8):783-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
OBJECTIVE: Aberrant DNA methylation is a fundamental transcriptional control mechanism in carcinogenesis. The expression of homeobox genes is usually controlled by an epigenetic mechanism, such as the methylation of CpG islands in the promoter region. The aim of this study was to describe the differential methylation pattern of HOX genes in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cell lines and transcript status in a group of hypermethylated and hypomethylated genes.
DESIGN: Quantitative analysis of DNA methylation was performed on two OSCC cell lines (SCC4 and SCC9) using a method denominated Human Homeobox Genes EpiTect Methyl qPCR Arrays, which allowed fast, precise methylation detection of 24 HOX specific genes without bisulfite conversion.
RESULTS: Methylation greater than 50% was detected in HOXA11, HOXA6, HOXA7, HOXA9, HOXB1, HOXB2, HOXB3, HOXB4, HOXB5, HOXB6, HOXC8 and HOXD10. Both cell lines demonstrated similar hypermethylation status for eight HOX genes. A similar pattern of promoter hypermethylation and hypomethylation was demonstrated for the HOXB cluster and HOXA cluster, respectively. Moreover, the hypermethylation profile of the HOXB cluster, especially HOXB4, was correlated with decreased transcript expression, which was restored following treatment with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine.
CONCLUSIONS: The homeobox methylation profile in OSCC cell lines is consistent with an epigenetic biomarker.

Chen J, Zhu S, Jiang N, et al.
HoxB3 promotes prostate cancer cell progression by transactivating CDCA3.
Cancer Lett. 2013; 330(2):217-24 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homeobox (Hox) genes encode homeodomain-containing transcription factors critical to development, differentiation, and homeostasis. Their dysregulation has been implicated in various cancers. In the present study, we show that HoxB3 mRNA and protein are overexpressed in primary prostate cancer tissues compared to the adjacent normal prostate tissues. Moreover, HoxB3 overexpression is associated with higher Gleason grade (⩾7) (P=0.002), clinical stage (P<0.001) and PSA level (⩾10) (P=0.013). The Kaplan and Meier analysis showed that HoxB3 overexpression predicts poor survival outcome. Overexpression of HoxB3 promotes LNCaP cells proliferation and migration in vitro. Furthermore, depletion of HoxB3 in PC-3 cells decreased the capacity of proliferation in a cell division cycle associated 3 (CDCA3)-dependent manner both in vitro and in vivo. The ChIP analysis indicates that HoxB3 can bind to the CDCA3 promoter region and transactivate the CDCA3 expression. These data suggested that HoxB3 promote prostate cancer progression by upregulating CDCA3 expression and may serve as a potential therapeutic target for human prostate cancer.

Li Q, Zhu F, Chen P
miR-7 and miR-218 epigenetically control tumor suppressor genes RASSF1A and Claudin-6 by targeting HoxB3 in breast cancer.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012; 424(1):28-33 [PubMed] Related Publications
Many microRNAs have been implicated as key regulators of cellular growth and differentiation and have been found to dysregulate proliferation in human tumors, including breast cancer. Cancer-linked microRNAs also alter the epigenetic landscape by way of DNA methylation and post-translational modifications of histones. Aberrations in Hox gene expression are important for oncogene or tumor suppressor during abnormal development and malignancy. Although recent studies suggest that HoxB3 is critical in breast cancer, the putative role(s) of microRNAs impinging on HoxB3 is not yet fully understood. In this study, we found that the expression levels of miR-7 and miR-218 were strongly and reversely associated with HoxB3 expression. Stable overexpression of miR-7 and miR-218 was accompanied by reactivation of tumor suppressor genes including RASSF1A and Claudin-6 by means of epigenetic switches in DNA methylation and histone modification, giving rise to inhibition of the cell cycle and clone formation of breast cancer cells. The current study provides a novel link between overexpression of collinear Hox genes and multiple microRNAs in human breast malignancy.

Almeida MI, Nicoloso MS, Zeng L, et al.
Strand-specific miR-28-5p and miR-28-3p have distinct effects in colorectal cancer cells.
Gastroenterology. 2012; 142(4):886-896.e9 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) can promote or inhibit tumor growth and are therefore being developed as targets for cancer therapies. They are diverse not only in the messenger RNAs (mRNA) they target, but in their production; the same hairpin RNA structure can generate mature products from each strand, termed 5p and 3p, that can bind different mRNAs. We analyzed the expression, functions, and mechanisms of miR-28-5p and miR-28-3p in colorectal cancer (CRC) cells.
METHODS: We measured levels of miR-28-5p and miR-28-3p expression in 108 CRC and 49 normal colorectal samples (47 paired) by reverse transcription, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. The roles of miR-28 in CRC development were studied using cultured HCT116, RKO, and SW480 cells and tumor xenograft analyses in immunodeficient mice; their mRNA targets were also investigated.
RESULTS: miR-28-5p and miR-28-3p were down-regulated in CRC samples compared with normal colon samples. Overexpression of miRNAs in CRC cells had different effects and the miRNAs interacted with different mRNAs: miR-28-5p altered expression of CCND1 and HOXB3, whereas miR-28-3p bound NM23-H1. Overexpression of miR-28-5p reduced CRC cell proliferation, migration, and invasion in vitro, whereas miR-28-3p increased CRC cell migration and invasion in vitro. CRC cells overexpressing miR-28 developed tumors more slowly in mice compared with control cells, but miR-28 promoted tumor metastasis in mice.
CONCLUSION: miR-28-5p and miR-28-3p are transcribed from the same RNA hairpin and are down-regulated in CRC cells. Overexpression of each has different effects on CRC cell proliferation and migration. Such information has a direct application for the design of miRNA gene therapy trials.

Eklund E
The role of Hox proteins in leukemogenesis: insights into key regulatory events in hematopoiesis.
Crit Rev Oncog. 2011; 16(1-2):65-76 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a heterogeneous disease with highly variable prognoses. Identification of recurring chromosomal translocations provides some prognostic information for individual AML subjects. Population based gene-expression profiling studies also identified abnormalities relevant to prognosis. Such studies associate increased expression of a set of homeodomain transcription factors with poor prognosis in AML. This set includes HoxB3, B4, A7-11 and Meis1, which are dysregulated as a group in the bone marrow in poor prognosis AML. Aberrant expression of these homeodomain transcription factors is found in AML with chromosomal translocations involving the MLL, MYST3 and CREBBP genes, and in a poor prognosis subset with normal cytogenetics. Studies in murine models suggest that Hox protein overexpression is functionally significant for myeloid malignancies. Overexpression of individual Hox proteins expanded various bone marrow populations in vitro, leading to myeloproliferation and in some cases differentiation block and AML in vivo. Therefore, dysregulated expression of key Hox target genes may contribute to adverse prognosis in AML. Identification of these genes will provide insights into the pathobiology of prognosis in AML. Studies are beginning to identify Hox target genes which may be rational targets for therapeutic approaches to this poor prognosis leukemia subset.

Kühnl A, Kaiser M, Neumann M, et al.
High expression of IGFBP2 is associated with chemoresistance in adult acute myeloid leukemia.
Leuk Res. 2011; 35(12):1585-90 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling plays an important role in many tumors and overexpression of IGF Binding Protein (IGFBP) 2 has been associated with adverse outcome in childhood leukemia. Here, we evaluated IGFBP2 mRNA expression and its prognostic implications in 99 adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. High IGFBP2 was associated with a high incidence of primary resistant disease (IGFBP2 high 65%, IGFBP2 low 32%; P=0.02) and was independently predictive for therapy resistance [OR 3.6 (95% CI 1.2-11); P=0.02] in multivariate analyses. Gene-expression profiling revealed an up-regulation of genes implicated in leukemogenesis (MYB, MEIS1, HOXB3, HOXA9) and genes associated with adverse outcome (ERG, WT1) in patients with high IGFBP2 expression. Thus, our data suggest a role of IGFBP2 and IGF signaling in chemoresistance of AML. Patients with high IGFBP2 expression might benefit from molecular therapies targeting the IGF pathway.

Liu HC, Shih LY, May Chen MJ, et al.
Expression of HOXB genes is significantly different in acute myeloid leukemia with a partial tandem duplication of MLL vs. a MLL translocation: a cross-laboratory study.
Cancer Genet. 2011; 204(5):252-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
In acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) gene may be rearranged to generate a partial tandem duplication (PTD), or fused to partner genes through a chromosomal translocation (tMLL). In this study, we first explored the differentially expressed genes between MLL-PTD and tMLL using gene expression profiling of our cohort (15 MLL-PTD and 10 tMLL) and one published data set. The top 250 probes were chosen from each set, resulting in 29 common probes (21 unique genes) to both sets. The selected genes include four HOXB genes, HOXB2, B3, B5, and B6. The expression values of these HOXB genes significantly differ between MLL-PTD and tMLL cases. Clustering and classification analyses were thoroughly conducted to support our gene selection results. Second, as MLL-PTD, FLT3-ITD, and NPM1 mutations are identified in AML with normal karyotypes, we briefly studied their impact on the HOXB genes. Another contribution of this study is to demonstrate that using public data from other studies enriches samples for analysis and yields more conclusive results.

Starkova J, Zamostna B, Mejstrikova E, et al.
HOX gene expression in phenotypic and genotypic subgroups and low HOXA gene expression as an adverse prognostic factor in pediatric ALL.
Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2010; 55(6):1072-82 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND: HOX genes play an important role in both normal lymphopoiesis and leukemogenesis. However, HOX expression patterns in leukemia cells compared to normal lymphoid progenitors have not been systematically studied in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) subtypes.
PROCEDURE: The RNA expression levels of HOXA, HOXB, and CDX1/2 genes were analyzed by qRT-PCR in a cohort of 61 diagnostic pediatric ALL samples and FACS-sorted subpopulations of normal lymphoid progenitors.
RESULTS: The RNA expression of HOXA7-10, HOXA13, and HOXB2-4 genes was exclusively detected in leukemic cells and immature progenitors. The RNA expression of HOXB6 and CDX2 genes was exclusively detected in leukemic cells but not in B-lineage cells at any of the studied developmental stages. HOXA3-4, HOXA7, and HOXB3-4 genes were differentially expressed between BCP-ALL and T-ALL subgroups, and among genotypically defined MLL/AF4, TEL/AML1, BCR/ABL, hyperdiploid and normal karyotype subgroups. However, this differential expression did not define specific clusters in hierarchical cluster analysis. HOXA7 gene was low expressed at the RNA level in patients with hyperdiploid leukemia, whereas HOXB7 and CDX2 genes were low expressed in TEL/AML1-positive and BCR/ABL-positive cases, respectively. In contrast to previous findings in acute myeloid leukemia, high HOXA RNA expression was associated with an excellent prognosis in Cox's regression model (P = 0.03). In MLL/AF4-positive ALL, lower HOXA RNA expression correlated with the methylation status of their promoters.
CONCLUSIONS: HOX gene RNA expression cannot discriminate leukemia subgroups or relative maturity of leukemic cells. However, HOXA RNA expression correlates with prognosis, and particular HOX genes are expressed in specific genotypically characterized subgroups.

Whitman SP, Maharry K, Radmacher MD, et al.
FLT3 internal tandem duplication associates with adverse outcome and gene- and microRNA-expression signatures in patients 60 years of age or older with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia: a Cancer and Leukemia Group B study.
Blood. 2010; 116(18):3622-6 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The clinical impact of FLT3-internal tandem duplications (ITDs), an adverse prognostic marker in adults aged < 60 years with primary cytogenetically normal acute myeloid leukemia (CN-AML), requires further investigation in older patients. In CN-AML patients aged ≥ 60 years treated on Cancer and Leukemia Group B frontline trials, we found that FLT3-ITD remained associated with shorter disease-free survival (P < .001; hazard ratio = 2.10) and overall survival (P < .001; hazard ratio = 1.97) in multivariable analyses. This impact on shorter disease-free survival and overall survival was in patients aged 60-69 (P < .001, each) rather than in those aged ≥ 70 years. An FLT3-ITD-associated gene-expression signature revealed overexpression of FLT3, homeobox genes (MEIS1, PBX3, HOXB3), and immunotherapeutic tar-gets (WT1, CD33) and underexpression of leukemia-associated (MLLT3, TAL1) and erythropoiesis-associated (GATA3, EPOR, ANK1, HEMGN) genes. An FLT3-ITD-associated microRNA-expression signature included overexpressed miR-155 and underexpressed miR-144 and miR-451. FLT3-ITD identifies older CN-AML patients with molecular high risk and is associated with gene- and microRNA-expression signatures that provide biologic insights for novel therapeutic approaches.

Palakurthy RK, Wajapeyee N, Santra MK, et al.
Epigenetic silencing of the RASSF1A tumor suppressor gene through HOXB3-mediated induction of DNMT3B expression.
Mol Cell. 2009; 36(2):219-30 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The RASSF1A tumor suppressor gene is epigenetically silenced in a variety of cancers. Here, we perform a genome-wide human shRNA screen and find that epigenetic silencing of RASSF1A requires the homeobox protein HOXB3. We show that HOXB3 binds to the DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B gene and increases its expression. DNMT3B, in turn, is recruited to the RASSF1A promoter, resulting in hypermethylation and silencing of RASSF1A expression. DNMT3B recruitment is facilitated through interactions with Polycomb repressor complex 2 and MYC, which is bound to the RASSF1A promoter. Mouse xenograft experiments indicate that the oncogenic activity of HOXB3 is due, at least in part, to epigenetic silencing of RASSF1A. Expression analysis in human lung adenocarcinoma samples reveals that RASSF1A silencing strongly correlates with overexpression of HOXB3 and DNMT3B. Analysis of human cancer cell lines indicates that the RASSF1A epigenetic silencing mechanism described here may be common in diverse cancer types.

Kodama A, Sakai H, Matsuura S, et al.
Establishment of canine hemangiosarcoma xenograft models expressing endothelial growth factors, their receptors, and angiogenesis-associated homeobox genes.
BMC Cancer. 2009; 9:363 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
BACKGROUND: Human hemangiosarcoma (HSA) tends to have a poor prognosis; its tumorigenesis has not been elucidated, as there is a dearth of HSA clinical specimens and no experimental model for HSA. However, the incidence of spontaneous HSA is relatively high in canines; therefore, canine HSA has been useful in the study of human HSA. Recently, the production of angiogenic growth factors and their receptors in human and canine HSA has been reported. Moreover, the growth-factor environment of HSA is very similar to that of pathophysiological angiogenesis, which some homeobox genes regulate in the transcription of angiogenic molecules. In the present study, we established 6 xenograft canine HSA tumors and detected the expression of growth factors, their receptors, and angiogenic homeobox genes.
METHODS: Six primary canine HSAs were xenografted to nude mice subcutaneously and serially transplanted. Subsequently, the expressions of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-A, basic fibroblast growth factors (bFGF), flt-1 and flk-1 (receptors of VEGF-A), FGFR-1, and angiogenic homeobox genes HoxA9, HoxB3, HoxB7, HoxD3, Pbx1, and Meis1 were investigated in original and xenograft tumors by histopathology, immunostaining, and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), using canine-specific primer sets.
RESULTS: Histopathologically, xenograft tumors comprised a proliferation of neoplastic cells that were varied in shape, from spindle-shaped and polygonal to ovoid; some vascular-like structures and vascular clefts of channels were observed, similar to those in the original tumors. The expression of endothelial markers (CD31 and vWF) was detected in xenograft tumors by immunohistochemistry and RT-PCR. Moreover, the expression of VEGF-A, bFGF, flt-1, flk-1, FGFR-1, HoxA9, HoxB3, HoxB7, HoxD3, Pbx1, and Meis1 was detected in xenograft tumors. Interestingly, expressions of bFGF tended to be higher in 3 of the xenograft HSA tumors than in the other tumors.
CONCLUSION: We established 6 xenograft canine HSA tumors in nude mice and found that the expressions of angiogenic growth factors and their receptors in xenograft HSAs were similar to those in spontaneous HSA. Furthermore, we detected the expression of angiogenic homeobox genes; therefore, xenograft models may be useful in analyzing malignant growth in HSA.

Weiss FU, Marques IJ, Woltering JM, et al.
Retinoic acid receptor antagonists inhibit miR-10a expression and block metastatic behavior of pancreatic cancer.
Gastroenterology. 2009; 137(6):2136-45.e1-7 [PubMed] Related Publications
BACKGROUND & AIMS: The infiltrating ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is among the most lethal of all solid malignancies, largely owing to a high frequency of early metastasis. We identified microRNA-10a (miR-10a) as an important mediator of metastasis formation in pancreatic tumor cells and investigated the upstream and downstream regulatory mechanisms of miR-10a.
METHODS: Northern blot analysis revealed increased expression levels of miR-10a in metastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma. The role of miR-10a was analyzed by Morpholino and short interfering RNA transfection of pancreatic carcinoma cell lines and resected specimens of human pancreatic carcinoma. Metastatic behavior of primary pancreatic tumors and cancer cell lines was tested in xenotransplantation experiments in zebrafish embryos.
RESULTS: We show that miR-10a expression promotes metastatic behavior of pancreatic tumor cells and that repression of miR-10a is sufficient to inhibit invasion and metastasis formation. We further show that miR-10a is a retinoid acid target and that retinoic acid receptor antagonists effectively repress miR-10a expression and completely block metastasis. This antimetastatic activity can be prevented by specific knockdown of HOX genes, HOXB1 and HOXB3. Interestingly, suppression of HOXB1 and HOXB3 in pancreatic cancer cells is sufficient to promote metastasis formation.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that miR-10a is a key mediator of metastatic behavior in pancreatic cancer, which regulates metastasis via suppression of HOXB1 and HOXB3. Inhibition of miR-10a expression (with retinoic acid receptor antagonists) or function (with specific inhibitors) is a promising starting point for antimetastatic therapies.

Boggaram V
Thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1/Nkx2.1/TITF1) gene regulation in the lung.
Clin Sci (Lond). 2009; 116(1):27-35 [PubMed] Related Publications
TTF-1 [thyroid transcription factor-1; also known as Nkx2.1, T/EBP (thyroid-specific-enhancer-binding protein) or TITF1] is a homeodomain-containing transcription factor essential for the morphogenesis and differentiation of the thyroid, lung and ventral forebrain. TTF-1 controls the expression of select genes in the thyroid, lung and the central nervous system. In the lung, TTF-1 controls the expression of surfactant proteins that are essential for lung stability and lung host defence. Human TTF-1 is encoded by a single gene located on chromosome 14 and is organized into two/three exons and one/two introns. Multiple transcription start sites and alternative splicing produce mRNAs with heterogeneity at the 5' end. The 3' end of the TTF-1 mRNA is characterized by a rather long untranslated region. The amino acid sequences of TTF-1 from human, rat, mouse and other species are very similar, indicating a high degree of sequence conservation. TTF-1 promoter activity is maintained by the combinatorial or co-operative actions of HNF-3 [hepatocyte nuclear factor-3; also known as FOXA (forkhead box A)], Sp (specificity protein) 1, Sp3, GATA-6 and HOXB3 (homeobox B3) transcription factors. There is limited information on the regulation of TTF-1 gene expression by hormones, cytokines and other biological agents. Glucocorticoids, cAMP and TGF-beta (transforming growth factor-beta) have stimulatory effects on TTF-1 expression, whereas TNF-alpha (tumour necrosis factor-alpha) and ceramide have inhibitory effects on TTF-1 DNA-binding activity in lung cells. Haplo-insufficiency of TTF-1 in humans causes hypothyroidism, respiratory dysfunction and recurring pulmonary infections, underlining the importance of optimal TTF-1 levels for the maintenance of thyroid and lung function. Recent studies have implicated TTF-1 as a lineage-specific proto-oncogene for lung cancer.

Roche J, Zeng C, Barón A, et al.
Hox expression in AML identifies a distinct subset of patients with intermediate cytogenetics.
Leukemia. 2004; 18(6):1059-63 [PubMed] Related Publications
We previously reported that favorable and poor prognostic chromosomal rearrangements in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) were associated with distinct levels of HOX expression. We have now analyzed HOX expression in 50 independent adult AML patients (median age=62 years), together with FLT3 and FLT3-ligand mRNA levels, and FLT3 mutation determination. By cluster analysis, we could divide AMLs into cases with low, intermediate and high HOX expression. Cases with high expression were uniquely restricted to a subset of AMLs with intermediate cytogenetics (P=0.0174). This subset has significantly higher levels of FLT3 expression and appears to have an increase of FLT3 mutations (44%), while CEBPalpha mutations were infrequent (6%). FLT3 mRNA levels were correlated with the expression of multiple HOX genes, whereas FLT3 mutations were correlated with HOXB3. In some cases, FLT3 was expressed at levels equivalent to GAPDH in the absence of genomic amplification. We propose that high HOX expression may be characteristically associated with a distinct biologic subset of AML. The apparent global upregulation of HOX expression could be due to growth-factor signaling or, alternatively, these patterns may reflect a particular stage of differentiation of the leukemic cells.

Pineault N, Abramovich C, Ohta H, Humphries RK
Differential and common leukemogenic potentials of multiple NUP98-Hox fusion proteins alone or with Meis1.
Mol Cell Biol. 2004; 24(5):1907-17 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
NUP98-Hox fusion genes are newly identified oncogenes isolated in myeloid leukemias. Intriguingly, only Abd-B Hox genes have been reported as fusion partners, indicating that they may have unique overlapping leukemogenic properties. To address this hypothesis, we engineered novel NUP98 fusions with Hox genes not previously identified as fusion partners: the Abd-B-like gene HOXA10 and two Antennepedia-like genes, HOXB3 and HOXB4. Notably, NUP98-HOXA10 and NUP98-HOXB3 but not NUP98-HOXB4 induced leukemia in a murine transplant model, which is consistent with the reported leukemogenic potential ability of HOXA10 and HOXB3 but not HOXB4. Thus, the ability of Hox genes to induce leukemia as NUP98 fusion partners, although apparently redundant for Abd-B-like activity, is not restricted to this group, but rather is determined by the intrinsic leukemogenic potential of the Hox partner. We also show that the potent leukemogenic activity of Abd-B-like Hox genes is correlated with their strong ability to block hematopoietic differentiation. Conversely, coexpression of the Hox cofactor Meis1 alleviated the requirement of a strong intrinsic Hox-transforming potential to induce leukemia. Our results support a model in which many if not all Hox genes can be leukemogenic and point to striking functional overlap not previously appreciated, presumably reflecting common regulated pathways.

Certa U, Seiler M, Padovan E, Spagnoli GC
Interferon-a sensitivity in melanoma cells: detection of potential response marker genes.
Recent Results Cancer Res. 2002; 160:85-91 [PubMed] Related Publications
Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) represents an adjuvant therapy of proven effectiveness in increasing disease-free interval and survival in subgroups of melanoma patients. Since high doses of cytokine are required, the treatment is often accompanied by toxic side effects. In addition, naturally occurring insensitivity to IFN-alpha may hamper its therapeutic efficacy. Clinical, molecular or immunological markers enabling the selection of potential responders have not so far been identified. To explore the molecular basis of IFN-alpha responsiveness, we analyzed the expression pattern of about 7000 genes in IFN-alpha-sensitive and IFN-alpha-resistant cell lines using high-density oligonucleotide arrays. Melanoma cell lines were screened for their sensitivity to proliferation inhibition and HLA class I induction by IFN-alpha by standard 3H-thymidine incorporation and flow cytometry. Total cellular RNA from four sensitive and two resistant cell lines was extracted, reverse-transcribed and hybridized to high-density oligonucleotide arrays. The comparative analysis of gene expression in either set of cell lines allowed the identification of four genes (RCCl, IFI16, hox2 and h19) preferentially transcribed in sensitive cells and two (SHB and PKC-zeta) preferentially expressed in resistant cells. These data may provide a useful basis for the development of diagnostic tools to select potential IFN-alpha responders as eligible for treatment, while avoiding unnecessary toxicity to nonresponders.

Drabkin HA, Parsy C, Ferguson K, et al.
Quantitative HOX expression in chromosomally defined subsets of acute myelogenous leukemia.
Leukemia. 2002; 16(2):186-95 [PubMed] Related Publications
We used a degenerate RT-PCR screen and subsequent real-time quantitative RT-PCR assays to examine the expression of HOX and TALE-family genes in 34 cases of chromosomally defined AML for which outcome data were available. AMLs with favorable cytogenetic features were associated with low overall HOX gene expression whereas poor prognostic cases had high levels. Characteristically, multiple HOXA family members including HOXA3-HOXA10 were jointly overexpressed in conjunction with HOXB3, HOXB6, MEIS1 and PBX3. Higher levels of expression were also observed in the FAB subtype, AML-M1. Spearmann correlation coefficients indicated that the expression levels for many of these genes were highly inter-related. While we did not detect any significant correlations between HOX expression and complete response rates or age in this limited set of patients, there was a significant correlation between event-free survival and HOXA7 with a trend toward significance for HoxA9, HoxA4 and HoxA5. While patients with elevated HOX expression did worse, there were notable exceptions. Thus, although HOX overexpression and clinical resistance to chemotherapy often coincide, they are not inextricably linked. Our results indicate that quantitative HOX analysis has the potential to add new information to the management of patients with AML, especially where characteristic chromosomal alterations are lacking.

Certa U, Seiler M, Padovan E, Spagnoli GC
High density oligonucleotide array analysis of interferon- alpha2a sensitivity and transcriptional response in melanoma cells.
Br J Cancer. 2001; 85(1):107-14 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
Interferon alpha (IFN-alpha) represents an adjuvant therapy of proven effectiveness in increasing disease-free interval and survival in subgroups of melanoma patients. Since high doses of cytokine are required, the treatment is often accompanied by toxic side effects. Furthermore, naturally occurring insensitivity to IFN-alpha may hamper its therapeutic efficacy. Clinical, molecular or immunological markers enabling the selection of potential responders have not been identified so far. To explore the molecular basis of IFN-alpha responsiveness, we analysed the expression pattern of about 7000 genes in IFN-alpha sensitive and resistant cell lines and we compared the transcription profiles of cells cultured in the presence or absence of the cytokine using high-density oligonucleotide arrays. Melanoma cell lines were screened for their sensitivity to proliferation inhibition and HLA class I induction upon IFN-alpha treatment by standard 3H-thymidine incorporation and flow-cytometry. The study of 4 sensitive and 2 resistant cell lines allowed the identification of 4 genes (RCC1, IFI16, hox2 and h19) preferentially transcribed in sensitive cells and 2 (SHB and PKC-zeta) preferentially expressed in resistant cells. IFN-alpha stimulation resulted in the expression of a panel of 19 known inducible genes in sensitive but not in resistant cells. Moreover a group of 30 novel IFN-alpha inducible genes was identified. These data may provide a useful basis to develop diagnostic tools to select potential IFN-alpha responders eligible for treatment, while avoiding unnecessary toxicity to non-responders. Furthermore, by extending the knowledge of the polymorphic effects of IFN-alpha on gene expression, they offer novel clues to the study of its pleiotropic toxicity.

Bodey B, Bodey B, Siegel SE, Kaiser HE
Immunocytochemical detection of the homeobox B3, B4, and C6 gene products in breast carcinomas.
Anticancer Res. 2000 Sep-Oct; 20(5A):3281-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
Breast cancer (BC) represents the most frequent neoplasm in women with a risk of incidence between 10% and 12%. The detection of tumor associated and oncofetal antigen re-expression in a variety of neoplastically transformed cell types has aided in the more precise diagnosis and prognostication of human cancers. The homeobox (HOX) genes encode proteins which contain a 61 amino acid DNA-binding homeodomain and are involved in the transcriptional regulation of other genes during normal onto- and histogenesis. The class I HOX genes are organized in four clusters on different chromosomes in humans, with a high conservation in the order of the genes within each of these clusters. Re-expression of HOX gene products has been reported in a wide variety of neoplastically transformed cells and it seems quite likely that the HOX genes represent yet another class of oncofetal antigens involved in both normal development and carcinogenesis, as well as tumor progression. The expression pattern of three HOX gene products (HOX-B3, -B4, and -C6) was examined immunocytochemically in 11 human breast carcinoma (BC) tissues. In all observed BC cases, HOX-C6 was present in over 90% of the neoplastically transformed cells (+4) demonstrating a high grade (A and B) staining intensity. The same expression pattern was defined for the other two observed proteins (HOX-B3 and -B4; over 90% or +4 and a high grade staining intensity or A and B). Current treatment of BC encompasses the three "classic" modalities of therapy: surgical resection, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Although advances have been made, we still face great difficulties in the treatment of this deadly human neoplasm. Therefore, we are always seeking novel tumor associated antigens (TAAs), including oncofetal antigens, to use as molecular targets in cancer cell directed fourth modality immunotherapy.

Bodey B, Bodey B, Siegel SE, et al.
Homeobox B3, B4, and C6 gene product expression in osteosarcomas as detected by immunocytochemistry.
Anticancer Res. 2000 Jul-Aug; 20(4):2717-21 [PubMed] Related Publications
Osteosarcoma (OS) is a malignant neoplastic disease of the bone, of mesenchymal origin and with considerable morphologic heterogeneity, consisting of malignant stoma with evidence of malignant osteoid, bone and/or cartilage production. The mammalian homeobox (HOX) represents a highly conserved DNA motif of 183 base pairs, encoding the 61 amino acid DNA-binding homeodomain, through which the HOX gene products regulate the transcription of other genes involved in onto- and histogenesis. Re-expression of HOX proteins has been identified in a wide variety of neoplastically transformed cell types and it seems that the HOX genes represent yet another family of oncofetal antigens involved in both normal development and oncogenesis, as well as tumor tissue progression. During this study, the expression pattern of three HOX gene products (HOX-C6, -B3, and -B4) was examined immunocytochemically in human osteosarcoma (OS) tissues. In all observed (16/16) OS cases, HOX-C6 was present in over 90% of the neoplastically transformed cells (+4), demonstrating a high to medium grade (A to B) staining intensity. Similar results were obtained in OS cells for the other two observed proteins (HOX-B3 and -B4; over 90% or +4 and a high to medium grade staining intensity or A and B). The significance of the expression of class I HOX proteins in the pathobiology, diagnosis and prognostication of human OS should be established by further investigations.

Bodey B, Bodey B, Gröger AM, et al.
Immunocytochemical detection of homeobox B3, B4, and C6 gene product expression in lung carcinomas.
Anticancer Res. 2000 Jul-Aug; 20(4):2711-6 [PubMed] Related Publications
The so-called homebox (HOX) was described as a highly conserved DNA motif of 183 base pairs, encoding the 61 amino acid DNA-binding homeodomain. Numerous HOX genes have subsequently been shown to bind to DNA and regulate the transcription of other genes. In humans the class I HOX genes are placed in four clusters on different chromosomes. The order of the genes within each of these clusters is evolutionarily conserved to a high degree and suggests that such an organization may be essential in the function of these genes during normal embryo- and histogenesis. Re-expression of HOX gene products has been reported in a wide variety of neoplastically transformed cells and it seems very likely that the HOX genes represent yet another class of oncofetal antigens involved in both normal development and cellular carcinogenesis, as well as tumor progression. The expression pattern of three homeobox gene products (HOX-B3, HOX-B4, and HOX-C6), all shown to be involved in lung tissue development, was examined immunocytochemically, in human lung carcinoma (LC) tissues. In all observed LC cases, HOX-C6 was present in over 60% of neoplastic cells (+3) demonstrating a medium grade (B and C) staining intensity. A smaller number of neoplastically transformed epithelial cells also expressed the proteins HOX-B3 and -B4 (10% to 60% or +2 to +3 and a medium grade staining intensity or B and C). The significance of these novel oncofetal antigens in tumor cell biology and as target molecules in the immunotherapy of lung carcinomas should be established by future studies.

Chiba S
Homeobox genes in normal hematopoiesis and leukemogenesis.
Int J Hematol. 1998; 68(4):343-53 [PubMed] Related Publications
Homeobox genes are broadly classified into two subclasses: HOX and non-HOX homeobox genes. A number of genes in both classes are expressed in a variety of hematopoietic cells. Two major categories of evidence implying the involvement of these genes in normal hematopoiesis have been demonstrated. First, the expression pattern of the homeobox genes in hematopoietic cells is lineage- and differentiation-stage specific. Second, enforced and suppressed expression of various homeobox genes cause defects in the hematopoietic cells of specific lineages. The reduction in myeloid, erythroid and B cell progenitors is found in mice with a disrupted HOXA9 gene. The thymuses of HOXB3-overexpressed marrow recipients contain a markedly decreased number of CD4/CD8 double-positive T cells. These examples suggest that the proper level of expression and timely down-regulation of some homeobox genes are necessary for normal hematopoiesis. Homeobox genes are also implicated in human and mouse leukemias. In human leukemias, a HOX gene (HOXA9) and two non-HOX homeobox genes (PBX1 and HOX11) are involved in chromosomal translocations. In mouse leukemias, provirus integrations cause aberrant expression of several HOX and non-HOX genes. Currently available information will be discussed separately on HOX and non-HOX genes, in normal and leukemic hematopoiesis, respectively.

Guazzi S, Pintonello ML, Viganò A, Boncinelli E
Regulatory interactions between the human HOXB1, HOXB2, and HOXB3 proteins and the upstream sequence of the Otx2 gene in embryonal carcinoma cells.
J Biol Chem. 1998; 273(18):11092-9 [PubMed] Related Publications
Vertebrate Hox and Otx genes encode homeodomain-containing transcription factors thought to transduce positional information along the body axis in the segmental portion of the trunk and in the rostral brain, respectively. Moreover, Hox and Otx2 genes show a complementary spatial regulation during embryogenesis. In this report, we show that a 1821-base pair (bp) upstream DNA fragment of the Otx2 gene is positively regulated by co-transfection with expression vectors for the human HOXB1, HOXB2, and HOXB3 proteins in an embryonal carcinoma cell line (NT2/D1) and that a shorter fragment of only 534 bp is able to drive this regulation. We also identified the HOXB1, HOXB2, and HOXB3 DNA-binding region on the 534-bp Otx2 genomic fragment using nuclear extracts from Hox-transfected COS cells and 12.5 days postcoitum mouse embryos or HOXB3 homeodomain-containing bacterial extracts. HOXB1, HOXB3, and nuclear extracts from 12.5 days postcoitum mouse embryos bind to a sequence containing two palindromic TAATTA sites, which bear four copies of the ATTA core sequence, a common feature of most HOM-C/HOX binding sites. HOXB2 protected an adjacent site containing a direct repeat of an ACTT sequence, quite divergent from the ATTA consensus. The region bound by the three homeoproteins is strikingly conserved through evolution and necessary (at least for HOXB1 and HOXB3) to mediate the up-regulation of the Otx2 transcription. Taken together, our data support the hypothesis that anteriorly expressed Hox genes might play a role in the refinement of the Otx2 early expression boundaries in vivo.

Bingle CD, Gowan S
Oct-1 interacts with conserved motifs in the human thyroid transcription factor 1 gene minimal promoter.
Biochem J. 1996; 319 ( Pt 3):669-74 [PubMed] Free Access to Full Article Related Publications
The homeodomain containing thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF-1) is a lung- and thyroid-enriched protein implicated in the regulation of a number of pulmonary specific genes. Within the lung TTF-1 is expressed within the epithelial cells. Although the molecular mechanisms that govern this tight cell-type-specific distribution are unclear, transient transfection studies have suggested that tissue specificity is conferred in part by regions of the proximal promoter. Further studies have shown that two functionally important regions (BS1 and BS2) are sites for activation of the TTF-1 gene by the homeodomain protein HoxB3, raising the possibility that Hox proteins might function in the regulation of TTF-1 in vivo. The different cellular distributions of the two proteins within the lung suggest, however, that proteins distinct from HoxB3 might be the mediators of expression through these sites. In the present study we have used gel-mobility-shift experiments to show that in a pulmonary adenocarcinoma cell line (NCI-H441) that expresses TTF-1, the same single protein binds to both of these sites. The binding of this protein is competed for specifically by the addition of oligonucleotides containing a range of octamer-binding sites but not by a variety of non-related binding sites. Using specific antiserum we have identified this protein as being the ubiquitously expressed POU-domain protein Oct-1. Reverse transcriptase-PCR performed with degenerated primers suggests that Oct-1 is the major POU-domain-containing protein expressed in H441 cells. These results suggest that BS1 and BS2 are functional octamer sites and might therefore be implicated in the basal rather than the tissue-restricted expression of the TTF-1 gene.

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