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Oncol Lett. 2013 Dec;6(6):1656-1662. Epub 2013 Oct 9.

The role of the retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1 tumor suppressor gene in human esophageal squamous cell carcinoma cells.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Tianjin Medical University General Hospital, Heping, Tianjin 300052, P.R. China.


The tumor suppressor protein retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1 (RIZ1) is downregulated in several types of cancer, including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). The present study used two in vitro methods to re-express RIZ1 in the human ESCC TE13 cell line in order to induce apoptosis. RIZ1 was re-expressed in the TE13 cells by reintroducing the gene through transfection or by removal of transcriptional repression through treatment with a DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) inhibitor. To reintroduce the gene, the open reading frame of the RIZ1 gene was inserted into the eukaryotic expression pcDNA3.1(+) vector and pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1 was purified and transfected into the TE13 ESCC cells. Removing transcriptional repression involved treating the TE13 cells with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-CdR), a DNMT inhibitor. RIZ1 mRNA and protein expression were determined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and western blotting. The rate of apoptosis of the cells was determined by flow cytometry. A recombinant eukaryotic human RIZ1 expression plasmid, pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1, was constructed and confirmed by sequencing. RIZ1 mRNA and protein expression increased in pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1 stably transfected cells. Treatment with 5-aza-CdR for 48 and 72 h resulted in increased RIZ1 protein expression and increased the rate of apoptosis in the TE13 cells (P<0.01). In conclusion, transfection of the TE13 cells with the eukaryotic pcDNA3.1(+)/RIZ1 expression vector and reversal of transcriptional repression of RIZ1 using 5-aza-CdR demonstrate that it is possible to re-express RIZ1 in TE13 cells. Furthermore, the re-expression of RIZ1 led to an increased rate of apoptosis and this method may provide new therapeutic possibilities.


5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine; esophageal squamous cell carcinoma; pcDNA3.1(+); retinoblastoma protein-interacting zinc finger gene 1; transfection

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