Regulation ofneu gene expression by the simian virus 40 large T antigen and tumor suppressors Rb andp53

Angabin Matin, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The neu gene (also c-erbB-2 or HER2) encodes a 185 kilodalton protein that is frequently overexpressed in breast, ovarian and non-small cell lung cancers. Study of the regulation of neu indicates that neu gene expression can be modulated by c-myc or by the adenovirus 5 E1a gene product. This study demonstrates that the transforming protein, large T antigen, of the simian virus 40 represses neu promoter activity. Repression of neu by large T antigen is mediated through the region $-$172 to $-$79 (relative to first ATG) of the neu promoter--unlike through $-$312 to $-$172 for c-myc or E1a. This suggests a different pathway for repression of neu by large T antigen. The 10 amino acid region of large T required for binding the tumor suppressor, retinoblastoma gene product, Rb, is not necessary for repression of neu. Moreover, the tumor suppressors, Rb and p53 can independently inhibit neu promoter activity. Rb inhibits neu through a 10 base pair G-rich enhancer (GTG element) ($-$243 to $-$234) and also through regions close to transcription initiation sites ($-$172 to $-$79). Mutant Rb unable to complex large T is able to repress the region close to transcription initiation but not the GTG enhancer. Thus, Rb inhibits the two regulatory domains of the neu gene by different mechanisms. Both Rb and p53 can repress the transforming activity of activated neu in focus forming assays. These data provide evidence that tumor suppressors regulate expression of growth stimulatory genes such as neu. Therefore, one reason for the overexpression of neu that is frequently seen in breast cancer cells may be due to functional inactivation of Rb and p53 which is also a common occurrence in breast cancer cells.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Surgery

Recommended Citation

Matin, Angabin, "Regulation ofneu gene expression by the simian virus 40 large T antigen and tumor suppressors Rb andp53" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9324938.