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EMBO J. 1991 Dec;10(13):4169-75.

Changes in NF-kappa B and ISGF3 DNA binding activities are responsible for differences in MHC and beta-IFN gene expression in Ad5- versus Ad12-transformed cells.

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Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology, Rockefeller University, New York, NY 10021.


Changes in MHC class I expression are frequently observed in tumors, which represents at least one mechanism by which tumor cells escape immune surveillance. MHC class I expression is often suppressed in type 12 adenovirus (Ad12)-transformed rodent cells, but is highly induced in Ad5-transformed cells. This difference helps to explain why Ad12 but not Ad5 can induce tumors in immunocompetent syngeneic rats. In this report we demonstrate that only Ad5- but not Ad12-transformed rodent fibroblasts constitutively express beta-IFN which results in ISGF3 factor induction, and stimulation of MHC class I expression. Furthermore, we demonstrate that in contrast to Ad12-transformed cells, Ad5-transformed cells show constitutive levels of nuclear NF-kappa B-like DNA binding activity. This is of particular interest since both the beta-IFN and the MHC class I promoters contain an NF-kappa B DNA binding site. Thus, high levels of MHC class I expression in Ad5-transformed cells are due to a combinatorial stimulation of two cis-regulatory sequences of the MHC class I promoter: the NF-kappa B binding site and the interferon stimulated response element (ISRE), which binds the ISGF3 factor complex. The failure of Ad12-transformed cells to activate this pathway explains their low levels of MHC class I expression and their greater oncogenicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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