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Cancer Res. 2000 Mar 15;60(6):1536-40.

EWS-FLI1, EWS-ERG, and EWS-ETV1 oncoproteins of Ewing tumor family all suppress transcription of transforming growth factor beta type II receptor gene.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cell Regulation and Carcinogenesis, DBS, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-5055, USA.


Ewing sarcoma-specific chromosomal translocations fuse the EWS gene to a subset of ets transcription factor family members, most commonly the FLI1 gene and less frequently ERG, ETV1, E1A-F, or FEV. These fusion proteins are thought to act as aberrant transcription factors that bind DNA through their ets DNA binding domain. Recently, we have shown (K-B. Hahm et al., Nat. Genet., 23: 222-227, 1999) that the transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) type II receptor (TGF-beta RII), a putative tumor suppressor gene, is a target of the EWS-FLI1 fusion protein. Here, we also examined effects of EWS-ETV1 and EWS-ERG on expression of the TGF-beta RII gene. We show that relative to the control, NIH-3T3 cell lines stably transfected with the EWS-FLI1, EWS-ERG, or EWS-ETV1 gene fusion express reduced levels of TGF-beta RII mRNA and protein, and that these cell lines have reduced TGF-beta sensitivity. Cotransfection of these fusion genes and the TGF-beta RII promoter suppresses TGF-beta RII promoter activity and also FLI1-, ERG-, or ETV1-induced promoter activity. These results indicate that transcriptional repression of TGF-beta RII is an important target of the EWS-FLI1, EWS-ERG, or EWS-ETV1 oncogene, and that EWS-ets fusion proteins may function as dominant negative forms of ets transcription factors.

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