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Oncogene. 2005 Mar 31;24(14):2343-53.

DIM stimulates IFNgamma gene expression in human breast cancer cells via the specific activation of JNK and p38 pathways.

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Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology, University of California, 119 Morgan Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-3104, USA.


3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a promising anticancer agent derived from Brassica vegetables, but the mechanisms of DIM action are largely unknown. We have shown that DIM can upregulate the expression and stimulate the secretion of interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) in the human MCF-7 breast cancer cell line. This novel effect may provide important clues to explain the anticancer effects of DIM because it is well known that IFNgamma plays an important role in preventing the development of primary and transplanted tumors. Utilizing promoter deletions, we show here that the region between -108 and -36 bp in the IFNgamma promoter, which contains two conserved and essential regulatory elements, is required for DIM-induced IFNgamma expression. DIM activates both JNK and p38 pathways, induces the phosphorylation of c-Jun and ATF-2, and increases the binding of the homodimer or heterodimer of c-Jun/ATF-2 to the proximal AP-1.CREB-ATF-binding element. Moreover, studies with specific enzyme inhibitors showed that up-stream Ca2+-dependent kinase(s) is required for the inducing effects of DIM in MCF-7 cells. These results establish that DIM-induced IFNgamma expression in human breast tumor cells is mediated by activation of both JNK and p38 pathways, which is ultimately dependent on intracellular calcium signaling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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