Transcriptional regulation of theneu oncogene and its negative regulation by thec-myc oncogene

Ting-Chung Suen, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The first part of my research involved the characterization of the neu gene promoter. I subcloned a 2.2-kb sequence located upstream to the extreme 5$\sp\prime$ end of the neu gene, in front of the bacterial reporter gene, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT). Transfection of this construct into different cell lines and subsequent CAT assays demonstrated that this 2.2-kb fragment was functional as a promoter. A series of deletion constructs was engineered to study the contribution of different fragments to transcription. Subcloning of individual fragments was followed by a cotransfection competition experiment, which demonstrated the involvement of protein factors interacting with the promoter. A gel retardation assay was also performed to show the physical binding of protein factors to the promoter. The combined results suggested that both positively and negatively acting protein factors are involved in interacting with different regions of the promoter, contributing to the overall transcription activity. My findings provide an insight into the regulation of neu gene expression, which in turn provides the tools to understand the molecular mechanisms of overexpression of the neu gene in some breast cancer and ovarian cancer cell lines. In the second part of my research, I discovered that another oncogene, c-myc, was able to reverse the transformed morphology that was induced by the neu oncogene. Utilizing the promoter constructs that I made, I was able to show that the c-myc oncogene has a negative regulatory effect on the expression of the neu oncogene. Further studies suggested that c-myc is able to lower the effective concentration of a positive factor(s) that interact with a 139-bp fragment of the neu gene promoter. These findings may provide a direct evidence of the long suspected role of the c-myc gene in transcriptional regulation. The neu gene may very well be the first identified mammalian target gene that is regulated by the c-myc oncogene. Since c-myc is known to be stimulated by various mitogenic signals and the neu gene is likely to be a growth factor receptor, it is possible that c-myc, when stimulated by the signal transduction pathway of the neu gene, would function as a negative feedback regulator on the neu gene receptor. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Suen, Ting-Chung, "Transcriptional regulation of theneu oncogene and its negative regulation by thec-myc oncogene" (1990). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9114743.