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Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Oct;17(10):6076-86.

Interference with the expression of a novel human polycomb protein, hPc2, results in cellular transformation and apoptosis.

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  • 1E. C. Slater Instituut, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Polycomb (Pc) is involved in the stable and heritable repression of homeotic gene activity during Drosophila development. Here, we report the identification of a novel human Pc homolog, hPc2. This gene is more closely related to a Xenopus Pc homolog, XPc, than to a previously described human Pc homolog, CBX2 (hPc1). However, the hPc2 and CBX2/hPc1 proteins colocalize in interphase nuclei of human U-2 OS osteosarcoma cells, suggesting that the proteins are part of a common protein complex. To study the functions of the novel human Pc homolog, we generated a mutant protein, delta hPc2, which lacks an evolutionarily conserved C-terminal domain. This C-terminal domain is important for hPc2 function, since the delta hPc2 mutant protein which lacks the C-terminal domain is unable to repress gene activity. Expression of the delta hPc2 protein, but not of the wild-type hPc2 protein, results in cellular transformation of mammalian cell lines as judged by phenotypic changes, altered marker gene expression, and anchorage-independent growth. Specifically in delta hPc2-transformed cells, the expression of the c-myc proto-oncogene is strongly enhanced and serum deprivation results in apoptosis. In contrast, overexpression of the wild-type hPc2 protein results in decreased c-myc expression. Our data suggest that hPc2 is a repressor of proto-oncogene activity and that interference with hPc2 function can lead to derepression of proto-oncogene transcription and subsequently to cellular transformation.

PMID:
9315667
PMCID:
PMC232457
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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