Molecular and cellular biology

RREB-1, a novel zinc finger protein, is involved in the differentiation response to Ras in human medullary thyroid carcinomas.

PMID 8816445


An activated ras oncogene induces a program of differentiation in the human medullary thyroid cancer cell line TT. This differentiation process is accompanied by a marked increase in the transcription of the human calcitonin (CT) gene. We have localized a unique Ras-responsive transcriptional element (RRE) in the CT gene promoter. DNase I protection indicates two domains of protein-DNA interaction, and each domain separately can confer Ras-mediated transcriptional inducibility. This bipartite RRE was also found to be Raf responsive. By affinity screening, we have cloned a cDNA coding for a zinc finger transcription factor (RREB-1) that binds to the distal RRE. The consensus binding site for this factor is CCCCAAACCACCCC. RREB-1 is expressed ubiquitously in human tissues outside the adult brain. Overexpression of RREB-1 protein in TT cells confers the ability to mediate increased transactivation of the CT gene promoter-reporter construct during Ras- or Raf-induced differentiation. These data suggest that RREB-1 may play a role in Ras and Raf signal transduction in medullary thyroid cancer and other cells.