Molecular cancer

Variation in transcriptional regulation of cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor p21waf1/cip1 among human bronchogenic carcinomas.

PMID 16014176


Cell proliferation control depends in part on the carefully ordered regulation of transcription factors. The p53 homolog p73, contributes to this control by directly upregulating the cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor, p21waf1/cip1. E2F1, an inducer of cell proliferation, directly upregulates p73 and in some systems upregulates p21 directly. Because of its central role in controlling cell proliferation, upregulation of p21 has been explored as a modality for treating bronchogenic carcinoma (BC). Improved understanding of p21 transcriptional regulation will facilitate identification of BC tissues that are responsive to p21-directed therapies. Toward this goal, we investigated the role that E2F1 and p73 each play in the transcriptional regulation of p21. Among BC samples (N = 21) p21 transcript abundance (TA) levels varied over two orders of magnitude with values ranging from 400 to 120,000 (in units of molecules/106 molecules beta-actin). The p21 values in many BC were high compared to those observed in normal bronchial epithelial cells (BEC) (N = 18). Among all BC samples, there was no correlation between E2F1 and p21 TA but there was positive correlation between E2F1 and p73alpha (p < 0.001) TA. Among BC cell lines with inactivated p53 and wild type p73 (N = 7) there was positive correlation between p73alpha and p21 TA (p < 0.05). Additionally, in a BC cell line in which both p53 and p73 were inactivated (H1155), E2F1 TA level was high (50,000), but p21 TA level was low (470). Transiently expressed exogenous p73alpha in the BC cell line Calu-1, was associated with a significant (p < 0.05) 90% increase in p21 TA and a 20% reduction in E2F1 TA. siRNA mediated reduction of p73 TA in the N417 BC cell line was associated with a significant reduction in p21 TA level (p < 0.01). p21 TA levels vary considerably among BC patients which may be attributable to 1) genetic alterations in Rb and p53 and 2) variation in TA levels of upstream transcription factors E2F1 and p73. Here we provide evidence that p73 upregulates p21 TA in BC tissues and upregulated p21 TA may result from E2F1 upregulation of p73 but not from E2F1 directly.