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DNA Cell Biol. 2001 May;20(5):265-74.

Regulation of MUC1 expression in human mammary cell lines by the c-ErbB2 and ras signaling pathways.

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Imperial Cancer Resarch Fund, Breast Cancer Biology Group, Thomas Guy House, Guy's Hospital, London, UK.


The MUC1 protein is a highly O-glycosylated transmembrane molecule that is expressed at the luminal surface of most glandular epithelial cells and is upregulated in carcinomas. Here, we report the effect of the activation of the c-ErbB2 --> Ras pathway on the expression of the MUC1 gene in the nontumorigenic mammary cell lines MTSV1-7 and HB2 and in the malignant cell lines T47D and ZR75. Endogenous levels of MUC1 mRNA and protein in HB2 clones permanently overexpressing c-ErbB2 or V12-H-Ras were markedly reduced compared with levels in the parental cell lines. Furthermore, in transient transfection assays, the transcription of a CAT reporter construct driven by the MUC1 promoter was inhibited when cotransfected with a c-ErbB2 or a V12-H-ras expressing vector. Transient transfections using mutant forms of the ras oncogene, and the inhibitor chemical wortmannin, indicated that the pathway activated by c-ErbB2 proceeds via activation of Ras and that the Raf and phosphoinositide 3-kinase pathways are involved. Finally, cotransfection assays using a reporter gene driven by the MUC1 promoter carrying abolishing mutations in some of the cis-acting elements showed that a GC box at -99/-91 is crucial for responsiveness to c-ErbB2 inhibition of transcription.

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