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Exp Cell Res. 2013 Mar 10;319(5):731-9. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2012.11.018. Epub 2012 Dec 1.

The transcription factor Forkhead box P3 (FoxP3) is expressed in glioma cells and associated with increased apoptosis.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Medical Center Schleswig-Holstein UKSH, Campus Kiel, 24105 Kiel, Germany.


The forkhead transcription factor FoxP3 is critically involved in the development and function of regulatory T cells (Tregs) that populate tumors and are considered as powerful parts of their immune evasion. However, also tumor cells are reported to express FoxP3. Since gliomas are particularly immunosuppressive tumors, we investigated the occurrence and possible functions of FoxP3 in these malignant cells. By quantitative RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and FACS analysis, we detected FoxP3 in glioma cells in situ and in vitro. After exposure of glioma cell lines to chemotherapeutics, expression of FoxP3 was significantly enhanced, and it was dislocated from more nuclear to perinuclear localization. Overexpression of FoxP3 in glioma cell lines considerably favored apoptotic damage of nuclei, DNA fragmentation, increased cleavage of the pro-apoptotic enzyme poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) and basal activities of effector caspases-3/7. In FoxP3-transfected cells, apoptotic stimuli like Camptothecin, Temozolomide or tumor necrosis factor-α synergistically enhanced caspases-3/7-activities over controls. Taking together, FoxP3 occurs in glioma cells, is induced by chemotherapeutics, and its expression is correlated with increased apoptosis of glioma cells, especially when propagated by apoptotic stimuli. Thus, FoxP3 is a novel pro-apoptotic transcription factor in gliomas that is critically involved in the action of apoptotic agents.

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