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Gene. 2009 Mar 15;433(1-2):72-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2008.12.010. Epub 2008 Dec 24.

The developmentally-regulated Smoc2 gene is repressed by Aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) signaling.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


SPARC-Related Modular Calcium Binding Protein-2 (Smoc-2) is a broadly-expressed matricellular protein which contributes to mitogenesis via activation of Integrin-Linked Kinase (ILK). Here we show that expression of Smoc2 is repressed in cultured cells following treatment with Aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (Ahr) ligands including the ubiquitous environmental pollutants Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). The Smoc2 promoter contains two consensus putative Ahr-binding sites and Smoc2 promoter-driven reporter genes are repressed in response to B[a]P in an Ahr-dependent manner in cultured cells. Using organ culture experiments we show that TCDD also represses Smoc2 mRNA expression in testes from Ahr(+/+) but not Ahr(-/-) mice. Therefore, exposure to Ahr ligands is likely to affect Smoc2 expression in vivo. Taken together our results indicate that Smoc2 is a novel transcriptional target of activated Ahr. Perturbation of Smoc2 expression may mediate the adverse developmental effects of environmental aryl-hydrocarbon exposure.

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