Study of retinoic acid signaling in cancer cells: Cloning and characterization of retinoic acid responsive genes

Yijun Cheng, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Retinoids such as all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA) are promising agents for cancer chemoprevention and therapy. ATRA can cause growth inhibition, induction of differentiation and apoptosis of a variety of cancer cells. These effects are thought to be mediated by nuclear retinoids receptors which are involved in ligand-dependent transcriptional activation of downstream target genes. Using differential display, we identified several retinoic acid responsive genes in the head and neck squamous carcinoma cells and lung cancer cells, including tissue type transglutaminase, cytochrome P450-related retinoic acid hydroxylase, and a novel gene, designated RAIG1. RAIG1 has two transcripts of 2.4 and 6.8 kbp, respectively, that are generated by alternative selection of polyadenylation sites. Both transcripts have the same open reading frame that encodes a protein comprised of 357 amino acid residues. The deduced RAIG1 protein sequence contains seven transmembrane domains, a signature structure of G protein-coupled receptors. RAIG1 mRNA is expressed at high level in fetal and adult lung tissues. Induction of RAIG1 expression by ATRA is rapid and dose-dependent. A fusion protein of RAIG1 and the green fluorescent protein was localized in the cell surface membrane and perinuclear vesicles in transiently transfected cells. The locus for RAIG1 gene was mapped to a region between D12S358 and D12S847 on chromosome 12p12.3-p13. Our study of the novel retinoic acid induced gene RAIG1 provide evidence for a possible interaction between retinoid and G protein signaling pathways. We further examined RAIG1 expression pattern in a panel of 84 cancer cell lines of different origin. The expression level varies greatly from very high to non-detectable. We selected a panel of different cancer cells to study the effects of retinoids and other differentiation agents. We observed: (1) In most cases, retinoids (including all-trans retinoic acid, 4HPR, CD437) could induce the expression of RAIG-1 in cells from cancers of the breast, colon, head and neck, lung, ovarian and prostate. (2) Compare to retinoids, butyrate is often a more potent inducer of RAIG-1 expression in many cancer cells. (3) Butyrate, Phenylacetate butyrate, (R)P-Butyrate and (S)P-Butyrate have different impact on RAIG1 expression which varies among different cell lines. Our results indicate that retinoids could restore RAIG1 expression that is down-regulated in many cancer cells. A mouse homologous gene, mRAIG1, was cloned by 5$\sp\prime$ RACE reaction. mRAIG1 cDNA has 2105 bp and shares 63% identity with RAIG1 cDNA. mRAIG1 encodes a polypeptide of 356 amino acid which is 76% identity with RAIG1 protein. mRAIG1 protein also has seven transmembrane domains which are structurally identical to those of RAIG1 protein. Only one 2.2 kbp mRAIG1 transcript could be detected. The mRAIG1 mRNA is also highly expressed in lung tissue. The expression of mRAIG1 gene could be induced by ATRA in several mouse embryonal carcinoma cells. The induction of mRAIG1 expression is associated with retinoic acid-induced neuroectoderm differentiation of P19 cells. Similarity in cDNA and protein sequence, secondary structure, tissue distribution and inducible expression by retinoic acid strongly suggest that the mouse gene is the homologue of the human RAIG1 gene.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Oncology

Recommended Citation

Cheng, Yijun, "Study of retinoic acid signaling in cancer cells: Cloning and characterization of retinoic acid responsive genes" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9909436.