Suppression of mammary carcinoma cell growth by retinoic acid: the cell cycle control gene Btg2 is a direct target for retinoic acid receptor signaling

Published on Wednesday, 13 January 2016


The anticarcinogenic activities of retinoic acid (RA) are believed to be mediated by the nuclear RA receptor (RAR) and by the RA-binding protein cellular RA-binding protein-II (CRABP-II).

In MCF-7 mammary carcinoma cells, growth inhibition by RA entails an early cell cycle arrest followed by induction of apoptosis.

Here, we aimed to obtain insights into the initial cell cycle response. We show that a 3- to 5-h RA pulse is sufficient for inducing a robust growth arrest 2 to 4 days later, demonstrating inhibition of the G1-S transition by RA is triggered by immediate-early RAR targets and does not require the continuous presence of the hormone throughout the arrest program.

Expression array analyses revealed that RA induces the expression of several genes involved in cell cycle regulation, including the p53-controlled antiproliferative gene B-cell translocation gene, member 2 (Btg2) and the BTG family member Tob1.

We show that induction of Btg2 by RA does not require de novo protein synthesis and is augmented by overexpression of CRABP-II. Additionally, we identify a RA response element in the Btg2 promoter and show that the element binds retinoid X receptor/RAR heterodimers in vitro, is occupied by the heterodimers in cells, and can drive RA-induced activation of a reporter gene. Hence, Btg2 is a novel direct target for RA signaling.

In concert with the reports that Btg2 inhibits cell cycle progression by down-regulating cyclin D1, induction of Btg2 by RA was accompanied by a marked decrease in cyclin D1 expression.

The observations thus show that the antiproliferative activity of RA in MCF-7 cells is mediated, at least in part, by Btg2.



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See also All-Trans-Retinoic Acid (ATRA - analogues and/or derivatives).