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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Apr 15;12(8):2404-13.

Transcriptional and posttranscriptional down-regulation of the imprinted tumor suppressor gene ARHI (DRAS3) in ovarian cancer.

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  • 1Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA.



ARHI expression is lost or markedly down-regulated in the majority of ovarian cancers. The mechanism by which ARHI is down-regulated in ovarian cancers is still not clear. Our previous reports indicated that ARHI promoter activity was reduced in ovarian cancer cells, due in part to the effects of negative regulatory transcription factor(s).


We now show that E2F1 and E2F4, but not E2F2, E2F3, or E2F5, bind to the ARHI promoter and repress its activity in ovarian cancer cells. Consistent with this observation, immunochemical staining of cell lines and of 364 samples of ovarian cancer tissue show that the expression of E2F1 and E2F4 proteins is much higher in ovarian cancer cells than in normal ovarian epithelial cells, and that increased expression of E2Fs was negatively correlated with ARHI expression (P < 0.05). Mutation of the putative E2F binding site in the ARHI promoter reversed this inhibitory effect and significantly increased ARHI promoter activity. In addition to the effects of transcriptional regulation, ARHI mRNA also exhibited a significantly reduced half-life in ovarian cancer cells when compared with that in normal ovarian epithelial cells (P < 0.01), suggesting posttranscriptional regulation of ARHI expression. ARHI mRNA contains AU-rich elements (ARE) in the 3'-untranslated region. We have found that these AREs interact with HuR, an ARE-binding protein that stabilizes bound mRNAs, possibly contributing to the rapid turnover of ARHI mRNA. Finally, reduced HuR ARE binding activity was observed in ovarian cancer cells when compared with normal ovarian surface epithelium.


Taken together, our data suggest that ARHI expression is regulated at both the transcriptional and the posttranscriptional levels, contributing to the dramatic decrease in ARHI expression in ovarian cancers.

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