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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Oct 17;310(2):421-32.

Androgen regulation of the human FERM domain encoding gene EHM2 in a cell model of steroid-induced differentiation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


We have developed a cell model to investigate steroid control of differentiation using a subline of HT1080 cells (HT-AR1) that have been engineered to express the human androgen receptor. Dihydrotestosterone (DHT) treatment of HT-AR1 cells induced growth arrest and cytoskeletal reorganization that was associated with the expression of fibronectin and the neuroendocrine markers chromogranin A and neuron-specific enolase. Expression profiling analysis identified the human FERM domain-encoding gene EHM2 as uniquely induced in HT-AR1 cells as compared to 16 other FERM domain containing genes. Since FERM domain proteins control cytoskeletal functions in differentiating cells, and the human EHM2 gene has not been characterized, we investigated EHM2 steroid-regulation, genomic organization, and sequence conservation. We found that DHT, but not dexamethasone, induced the expression of a 3.8 kb transcript in HT-AR1 cells encoding a 504 amino acid protein, and moreover, that human brain tissue contains a 5.8 kb transcript encoding a 913 amino acid isoform. Construction of an unrooted phylogenetic tree using 98 FERM domain proteins revealed that the human EHM2 gene is a member of a distinct subfamily consisting of nine members, all of which contain a highly conserved 325 amino acid FERM domain.

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