Autoregulation of theneu oncogene

Xiao-Yan Zhao, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The neu gene encodes a 185,000-Da membrane glycoprotein that is highly homologous to epidermal growth factor receptor. It is frequently overexpressed or amplified in human breast carcinomas and ovarian cancers, which correlates with a poor prognosis for patients. The importance of neu gene regulation is noted by the fact that many breast cancer cells overexpress the neu gene without proportional gene amplification. The mechanism for that is unclear. My initial finding of neu autoregulation led to a realization that defects in neu autoregulation pathway may contribute to neu overexpression in tumor cells. I have found in the nontransformed NIH 3T3 model system that (i) the neu gene product autorepresses its own promoter activity, (ii) the neu gene promoter contains a novel enhancer, (iii) neu autorepression is mediated through this enhancer by inhibition of the enhancer activity, and (iv) c-myc expression serves as an intermediate step downstream from the membrane bound neu-encoded receptor in this complicated feedback inhibition pathway. In addition, a part of my research is studying the neu-encoded receptor molecule. I have generated a construct coding the neu ligand-binding domain and demonstrated that (i) the neu ligand-binding domain is a secretory peptide, (ii) it inhibits the normal neu-associated tyrosine kinase but not activated neu-associated tyrosine kinase. My study provided experimental evidence for the mechanisms of neu gene activation.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Genetics

Recommended Citation

Zhao, Xiao-Yan, "Autoregulation of theneu oncogene" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9228969.