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Mol Carcinog. 1997 Oct;20(2):231-9.

bcl-2 enhancement of malignant transformation in mouse epidermal JB6 cells.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Maryland, Baltimore 21201, USA.


Increased bcl-2 expression is a common feature of many types of human malignancies, which implies that bcl-2 plays an important role in tumorigenesis. To better understand the molecular mechanisms of bcl-2-induced oncogenesis, we examined the effects of bcl-2 expression on transformation of mouse epidermal JB6 cells induced by the tumor promoter 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13 acetate (TPA). Promotion-sensitive JB6 clone41 cells were transfected with the bcl-2-containing expression vector pD5-neo/bcl-2, and the soft agar growth of bcl-2-transfected cells and control cells were compared. bcl-2 overexpression in JB6 clone41 cells caused a TPA-induced soft-agar growth fivefold greater than the growth of nontransfected or vector-transfected (neo control) cells. bcl-2 expression in the absence of TPA did not lead to colony formation in soft agar. Because the level of the transcription factor activator protein 1 (AP-1) has been shown to be critical for the responsiveness of JB6 cells to TPA-induced transformation, we compared c-jun and c-fos expression as well as the AP-1-binding activity and the AP-1-mediated transactivation of the reporter construct TRE-CAT between bcl-2-expressing cells and control cells. When compared with control cells, bcl-2-transfected cells expressed significantly more c-fos but not c-jun after TPA treatment. Furthermore, the levels of AP-1 and AP-1-induced transactivation of TRE-CAT were greater in bcl-2-transfected cells than in control cells after TPA treatment. These results showed that bcl-2 cooperates with a tumor promoter such as TPA in the induction of malignant transformation in mouse epidermal cells and that bcl-2 enhances soft-agar growth by stimulating signaling pathways that led to increased AP-1 expression.

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