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J Biol Chem. 1999 May 28;274(22):15633-45.

A novel gene (PLU-1) containing highly conserved putative DNA/chromatin binding motifs is specifically up-regulated in breast cancer.

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  • 1Laboratory of Epithelial Cell Biology, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PX, United Kingdom.


A novel human gene (PLU-1) has been identified which shows a highly restricted expression in normal adult tissues but which is consistently expressed in breast cancers. A fragment of the PLU-1 cDNA was identified by differentially screening a fetal brain library with cDNAs prepared from ce-1 cells (a human mammary epithelial cell line overexpressing c-ErbB2) treated or untreated with the antibody 4D5, which inhibits c-ErbB2 phosphorylation. Clones covering the full cDNA sequence of 6.4 kilobases were isolated from a breast cancer cDNA library. Although expression of PLU-1 in ce-1 cells is regulated by signaling from c-ErbB2, the gene is expressed in all the breast cancer cell lines examined, in cells cultured from primary breast cancers, and in the invasive and in situ components of primary breast cancers. Translation of the open reading frame predicts a protein of 1544 amino acids, which contains three PHD/LAP motifs, a specific DNA-binding domain found in a Drosophila protein (dri) and novel domains showing extensive homology with other human and non human gene products. Transient transfection of cell lines with MYC-tagged PLU-1 showed the protein to be localized in the nucleus and associated with discrete foci. The presence of the dri motif and PHD/LAP fingers together with the clear nuclear localization and consistent expression in breast cancers, suggest a role for PLU-1 in regulating gene expression in breast cancers.

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