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Mol Cancer Res. 2009 Feb;7(2):221-9. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-08-0229. Epub 2009 Feb 10.

Yin yang 1 regulates the expression of snail through a distal enhancer.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


Expression of the Snail gene is required for the epithelial-mesenchymal transitions that accompany mammalian gastrulation, neural crest migration, and organ formation. Pathologic expression of Snail contributes to the migratory capacity of invasive tumors, including melanomas. To investigate the mechanism of Snail up-regulation in human melanoma cells, a conserved enhancer located 3' of the Snail gene was analyzed. An overlapping Ets and yin yang 1 (YY1) consensus sequence, in addition to a SOX consensus sequence, was required for full enhancer activity. Proteins specifically binding these sequences were detected by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. The Ets/YY1 binding activity was purified by DNA-affinity chromatography and identified as YY1. Although ubiquitously expressed, YY1 was bound at the Snail 3' enhancer in vivo in Snail-expressing cells but not in cells that did not express Snail. Knockdown of YY1 in A375 cells led to decreased Snail expression. These results identify a role for YY1 in regulating transcription of Snail in melanoma cells through binding to the Snail 3' enhancer.

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