Date of Graduation


Document Type

Dissertation (PhD)

Program Affiliation

Molecular Carcinogenesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Advisor/Committee Chair

David G. Johnson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark T. Bedford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Claudio J. Conti, DVM, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Susan M. Fischer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Khandan Keyomarsi, Ph.D.


E2F1 is a multi-faceted protein that has roles in a number of important cellular processes including cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, proliferation, and the DNA damage response (DDR). Moreover, E2F1 has opposing roles in tumor development, acting as either a tumor suppressor or an oncogene depending on the context. In human cancer, E2F1 is often deregulated through aberrations in the Rb-p16INK4a-cyclin D1 pathway. In these studies we examined three mechanisms by which E2F1 might mediate its tumor suppressive properties: p21-induced senescence, miRNAs, and the DNA damage response. We found that E2F1 acts as a tumor suppressor in response to ras activation through a non-apoptotic mechanism requiring ARF and p53, but not p21. However, p21-loss inhibited two-stage chemical carcinogenesis in FVB mice. In response to E2F1 overexpression, we found that 22 miRNAs are differentially regulated in mouse epidermis, including let-7a, let-7c, and miR-301. Additionally, regulation of miR-301 involves binding of E2F1 to its promoter. Finally, our data indicate a role for E2F1 at sites of DNA damage requiring E2F1’s phosphorylation at serine 31 which may involve DNA repair. Further, this role in the DDR may affect tumor aggressiveness and multiplicity. In all, we have explored three mechanisms for E2F1-induced tumor suppression and identified E2F1’s role in the DNA damage response as a likely contributor to this phenomenon.


E2F1, senescence, miRNA, DNA damage, DDR, tumor suppression



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