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Endocrinology. 2000 Jul;141(7):2540-7.

Negative regulation of the antimetastatic gene Nm23-H1 by thyroid hormone receptors.

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Department of Biochemistry, Chang-Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Metastasis of various malignant cells is inversely related to the abundance of the Nm23-H1 protein. The possible role of thyroid hormones in tumor metastasis has now been investigated by examining the effect of T3 on the expression of the Nm23-H1 gene. Human hepatoma HepG2 cells, in which endogenous thyroid hormone receptor subtype alpha1 (TRalpha1) is expressed at a low level, were stably transfected, either with expression plasmids encoding wild-type TRalpha1 or a dominant negative mutant of TRalpha1, or with the empty vector (yielding HepG2-Wt, HepG2-Mt, and HepG2-Neo cells, respectively). Immunoblot analysis revealed that exposure of HepG2-Wt and HepG2-Neo cells, but not HepG2-Mt cells, to T3-induced time-dependent decreases in the abundance of Nm23-H1 messenger RNA and protein, with the extent of these effects correlating with the level of expression of TRalpha1. An in vitro assay also revealed that T3 induced a marked increase in the invasive activity of HepG2-Wt cells; it induced a smaller increase in that of HepG2-Neo cells but had no effect on that of HepG2-Mt cells. Finally, the promoter region of Nm23-H1 spanning nucleotides -471 to -437 (relative to the transcriptional initiation site) inhibited the expression of a downstream reporter gene, in a T3-dependent manner, in COS-1 cells also transfected with an expression plasmid encoding TRalpha1 or TRbeta1. The DNA binding domain of TRbeta1 was required for this inhibitory effect. These results indicate that T3, acting through TRs, inhibits transcription of Nm23-H1, and that this effect is mediated by a negative regulatory element in the promoter region of the gene. Thus, it is possible that T3 promotes tumor metastasis by inducing down-regulation of Nm23-H1 expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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