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Cell Cycle. 2009 May 15;8(10):1633-6. Epub 2009 May 13.

Genome-wide inhibitory impact of the AMPK activator metformin on [kinesins, tubulins, histones, auroras and polo-like kinases] M-phase cell cycle genes in human breast cancer cells.


Prompted by the ever-growing scientific rationale for examining the antidiabetic drug metformin as a potential antitumor agent in breast cancer disease, we recently tested the hypothesis that the assessment of metformin-induced global changes in gene expression-as identified using 44 K (double density) Agilent's whole human genome arrays-could reveal gene-expression signatures that would allow proper selection of breast cancer patients who should be considered for metformin-based clinical trials. Using Database for Annotation, Visualization and Integrated Discovery bioinformatics (DAVID) resources we herein reveal that, at doses that lead to activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), metformin not only downregulates genes coding for ribosomal proteins (i.e., protein and macromolecule biosynthesis) but unexpectedly suppresses numerous mitosis-related gene families including kinesins, tubulins, histones, auroras and polo-like kinases. This is, to our knowledge, the first genome-scale evidence of a mitotic core component in the transcriptional response of human breast cancer cells to metformin. These findings further support a tight relationship between the activation status of AMPK and the chromosomal and cytoskeletal checkpoints of cell mitosis at the transcriptional level.

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