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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Sep 15;95(19):11307-11.

The expression of the KAI1 gene, a tumor metastasis suppressor, is directly activated by p53.

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University, Springfield, IL 62702, USA.


KAI1 is a tumor metastasis suppressor gene that is capable of inhibiting the metastatic process in animals. The expression of the KAI1 gene also is found to be down-regulated during the tumor progression of prostate, breast, lung, bladder, and pancreatic cancers in humans, and this down-regulation appears to be at or posttranscription level. We have found that the tumor suppressor gene p53 can directly activate the KAI1 gene by interacting with the 5' upstream region. The p53 responding region is located at approximately 860 bases upstream of the transcriptional initiation site, and it contains a typical tandem repeat of the p53 consensus-binding sequence. A gel-shift mobility analysis showed that this sequence indeed had the ability to bind to the purified p53 protein. Mutations of this sequence abolished the responsiveness to p53 and also the binding ability to the p53 protein. Furthermore, immunohistochemical analysis of 177 samples of human prostate tumors revealed that the expression of the KAI1 gene was correlated strongly to that of the p53 gene and that the loss of these two markers resulted in poor survivals of patients. Our data indicate a direct relationship between p53 and KAI1 genes and suggest that the loss of p53 function, which is commonly observed in many types of cancer, leads to the down-regulation of the KAI1 gene, which may result in the progression of metastasis.

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