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Oncogene. 2005 Sep 22;24(42):6418-31.

HNF4alpha reduces proliferation of kidney cells and affects genes deregulated in renal cell carcinoma.

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Institut f├╝r Zellbiologie (Tumorforschung), Universit├Ątsklinikum Essen, D-45122 Essen, Germany.


Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4alpha (HNF4alpha) is a tissue-specific transcription factor known to regulate a large number of genes in hepatocytes and pancreatic beta cells. Although HNF4alpha is highly expressed in some sections of the kidney, little is known about its role in this organ and about HNF4alpha-regulated genes in the kidney cells. The abundance and activity of HNF4alpha are frequently reduced in renal cell carcinoma (RCC) indicating some tumor suppressing function of HNF4alpha in renal cells. To determine the potential role of HNF4alpha in RCC, we used Flp recombinase-mediated gene integration to generate human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293) that conditionally express wild-type or mutated HNF4alpha. Expression of wild-type HNF4alpha but not of the mutants led to reduction of proliferation and alterations of cell morphology. These effects were reversible and induced at physiological concentrations of HNF4alpha. Using gene expression profiling by microarrays, we determined genes regulated by HNF4alpha. Interestingly, many of the genes regulated by HNF4alpha have been shown to be deregulated in RCC microarray studies. These genes (ACY1, WT1, SELENBP1, COBL, EFHD1, AGXT2L1, ALDH5A1, THEM2, ABCB1, FLJ14146, CSPG2, TRIM9 and HEY1) are good candidates for genes whose activity is changed upon the decrease of HNF4alpha in RCC.

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