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Oncogene. 2005 Jun 2;24(24):3875-85.

Transcriptional repression of WEE1 by Kruppel-like factor 2 is involved in DNA damage-induced apoptosis.

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Division of Experimental Pathology, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First Street SW, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Human Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) is a Cys(2)/His(2) zinc-finger-containing transcriptional factor, which is involved in multiple cellular pathways. Utilizing gene expression profiling to identify aberrantly expressed genes in ovarian cancer, we found that KLF2 was significantly and specifically downregulated in ovarian tumors. After reintroducing KLF2 into ovarian cancer cell lines, we observed decreased cell growth and increased sensitivity to DNA damage-induced apoptosis. Analysis of genes that could be potential targets of KLF2 revealed that KLF2 negatively regulated WEE1 expression. WEE1 encodes a tyrosine kinase that regulates the G2/M cell cycle transition. Expression of KLF2 markedly repressed the transcription of WEE1 by directly binding to an SP1/CPBP motif located between -252 bp and the start codon of the WEE1 promoter. Both activation and zinc-finger domains of KLF2 were required for this suppression of Wee1 expression. In addition, we demonstrated that Wee1 expression prevents cancer cells from undergoing apoptosis in response to DNA damage; however, this resistance was abolished by coexpression of KLF2, which inhibits WEE1 transcription. Thus, the level of WEE1 is regulated by KLF2 and enhanced KLF2 expression sensitizes cells to DNA damage-induced apoptosis.

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