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Cancer Res. 2006 Jun 1;66(11):5574-81.

Oncoprotein EWS-FLI1 activity is enhanced by RNA helicase A.

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Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.


RNA helicase A (RHA), a member of the DEXH box helicase family of proteins, is an integral component of protein complexes that regulate transcription and splicing. The EWS-FLI1 oncoprotein is expressed as a result of the chromosomal translocation t(11;22) that occurs in patients with the Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT). Using phage display library screening, we identified an EWS-FLI1 binding peptide containing homology to RHA. ESFT cell lines and patient tumors highly expressed RHA. GST pull-down and ELISA assays showed that EWS-FLI1 specifically bound RHA fragment amino acids 630 to 1020, which contains the peptide region discovered by phage display. Endogenous RHA was identified in a protein complex with EWS-FLI1 in ESFT cell lines. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed both EWS-FLI1 and RHA bound to EWS-FLI1 target gene promoters. RHA stimulated the transcriptional activity of EWS-FLI1 regulated promoters, including Id2, in ESFT cells. In addition, RHA expression in mouse embryonic fibroblast cells stably transfected with EWS-FLI1 enhanced the anchorage-independent phenotype above that with EWS-FLI1 alone. These results suggest that RHA interacts with EWS-FLI1 as a transcriptional cofactor to enhance its function.

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