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Oncogene. 2001 Oct 25;20(48):7051-63.

Genomic structure, chromosomal localization and expression profile of a novel melanoma differentiation associated (mda-7) gene with cancer specific growth suppressing and apoptosis inducing properties.

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Department of Urology, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Abnormalities in cellular differentiation are frequent occurrences in human cancers. Treatment of human melanoma cells with recombinant fibroblast interferon (IFN-beta) and the protein kinase C activator mezerein (MEZ) results in an irreversible loss in growth potential, suppression of tumorigenic properties and induction of terminal cell differentiation. Subtraction hybridization identified melanoma differentiation associated gene-7 (mda-7), as a gene induced during these physiological changes in human melanoma cells. Ectopic expression of mda-7 by means of a replication defective adenovirus results in growth suppression and induction of apoptosis in a broad spectrum of additional cancers, including melanoma, glioblastoma multiforme, osteosarcoma and carcinomas of the breast, cervix, colon, lung, nasopharynx and prostate. In contrast, no apparent harmful effects occur when mda-7 is expressed in normal epithelial or fibroblast cells. Human clones of mda-7 were isolated and its organization resolved in terms of intron/exon structure and chromosomal localization. Hu-mda-7 encompasses seven exons and six introns and encodes a protein with a predicted size of 23.8 kDa, consisting of 206 amino acids. Hu-mda-7 mRNA is stably expressed in the thymus, spleen and peripheral blood leukocytes. De novo mda-7 mRNA expression is also detected in human melanocytes and expression is inducible in cells of melanocyte/melanoma lineage and in certain normal and cancer cell types following treatment with a combination of IFN-beta plus MEZ. Mda-7 expression is also induced during megakaryocyte differentiation induced in human hematopoietic cells by treatment with TPA (12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate). In contrast, de novo expression of mda-7 is not detected nor is it inducible by IFN-beta+MEZ in a spectrum of additional normal and cancer cells. No correlation was observed between induction of mda-7 mRNA expression and growth suppression following treatment with IFN-beta+MEZ and induction of endogenous mda-7 mRNA by combination treatment did not result in significant intracellular MDA-7 protein. Radiation hybrid mapping assigned the mda-7 gene to human chromosome 1q, at 1q 32.2 to 1q41, an area containing a cluster of genes associated with the IL-10 family of cytokines. Mda-7 represents a differentiation, growth and apoptosis associated gene with potential utility for the gene-based therapy of diverse human cancers.

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