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J Biol Chem. 1994 Oct 28;269(43):26871-8.

Apolipoprotein D gene induction by retinoic acid is concomitant with growth arrest and cell differentiation in human breast cancer cells.

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Departamento de Biología Funcional, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain.


We have examined the regulation by retinoic acid of the gene encoding apolipoprotein D (apoD), a human plasma protein belonging to the superfamily of the lipocalins that is produced by a specific subtype of highly differentiated breast carcinomas. Northern blot analysis revealed that all-trans-retinoic acid (RA) strongly induced the accumulation of apoD mRNA in T-47D and ZR-75-1 estrogen receptor-positive human breast cancer cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, while no inductive effect was observed in estrogen receptor-negative cell lines, including MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-435. The effect of RA on apoD expression by T-47D cells was at least 12-fold more potent than the effect of the steroids dihydrotestosterone and dexamethasone, which had been previously described as hormonal up-regulators of apoD expression in these cells. A time course study demonstrated that the induction of apoD mRNA reached a level of 15-fold over the untreated control cells after 48 h of incubation in the presence of a 10(-7) M concentration of RA. A dose-response analysis showed that as little as 10(-13) M RA produced an accumulation of 5-fold over the control, while incubation of the cells in the presence of 10(-5) M RA induced a maximal accumulation of 24-fold over the control untreated cells. The induction of apoD mRNA was independent of the synthesis of proteins de novo, as demonstrated by the fact that the induction was also detected in the presence of cycloheximide. The incubation of the cells in the presence of RA did not affect significantly the stability of apoD mRNA. By contrast, treatment of the T-47D cells with RA produced an increase of approximately 8-fold in the rate of transcription of the apoD gene. Furthermore, treatment of the T-47D cells with RA induced the synthesis and secretion to the culture medium of apoD. This increased expression of apoD was accompanied by an inhibition of cell proliferation and a progression through a more differentiated phenotype, suggesting that the mechanisms controlling RA-induced growth arrest, cell differentiation, and apoD synthesis may be directly coordinated in human breast cancer cells.

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