Characterization of E2F1's oncogenic, apoptotic and tumor-suppressive activities utilizing the K5 mouse model

Jamie L Russell, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Though E2F1 is deregulated in most human cancers by mutations of the p16-cyclin D-Rb pathway, it also exhibits tumor suppressive activity. A transgenic mouse model overexpressing E2F1 under the control of the bovine keratin 5 (K5) promoter exhibits epidermal hyperplasia and spontaneously develops tumors in the skin and other epithelial tissues after one year of age. In a p53-deficient background, aberrant apoptosis in K5 E2F1 transgenic epidermis is reduced and tumorigenesis is accelerated. In sharp contrast, K5 E2F1 transgenic mice are resistant to papilloma formation in the DMBA/TPA two-stage carcinogenesis protocol. K5 E2F4 and K5 DP1 transgenic mice were also characterized and both display epidermal hyperplasia but do not develop spontaneous tumors even in cooperation with p53 deficiency. These transgenic mice do not have increased levels of apoptosis in their skin and are more susceptible to papilloma formation in the two-stage carcinogenesis model. These studies show that deregulated proliferation does not necessarily lead to tumor formation and that the ability to suppress skin carcinogenesis is unique to E2F1. E2F1 can also suppress skin carcinogenesis when okadaic acid is used as the tumor promoter and when a pre-initiated mouse model is used, demonstrating that E2F1's tumor suppressive activity is not specific for TPA and occurs at the promotion stage. E2F1 was thought to induce p53-dependent apoptosis through upregulation of p19ARF tumor suppressor, which inhibits mdm2-mediated p53 degradation. Consistent with in vitro studies, the overexpression of E2F1 in mouse skin results in the transcriptional activation of the p19ARF and the accumulation of p53. Inactivation of either p19ARF or p53 restores the sensitivity of K5 E2F1 transgenic mice to DMBA/TPA carcinogenesis, demonstrating that an intact p19ARF-p53 pathway is necessary for E2F1 to suppress carcinogenesis. Surprisingly, while p53 is required for E2F1 to induce apoptosis in mouse skin, p19ARF is not, and inactivation of p19ARF actually enhances E2F1-induced apoptosis and proliferation in transgenic epidermis. This indicates that ARF is important for E2F1-induced tumor suppression but not apoptosis. Senescence is another potential mechanism of tumor suppression that involves p53 and p19ARF. K5 E2F1 transgenic mice initiated with DMBA and treated with TPA show an increased number of senescence cells in their epidermis. These experiments demonstrate that E2F1's unique tumor suppressive activity in two-stage skin carcinogenesis can be genetically separated from E2F1-induced apoptosis and suggest that senescence utilizing the p19ARF-p53 pathway plays a role in tumor suppression by E2F1.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Russell, Jamie L, "Characterization of E2F1's oncogenic, apoptotic and tumor-suppressive activities utilizing the K5 mouse model" (2004). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3131481.