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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Activation of nicotinamide N-methyltransferase gene promoter by hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta in human papillary thyroid cancer cells.

We previously demonstrated that the human nicotinamide N-methytransferase (NNMT) gene was highly expressed in many papillary thyroid cancers and cell lines. The expression in other papillary and follicular cancers or cell lines and normal thyroid cells was low or undetectable. To gain an understanding of the molecular mechanism of this cell-specific expression, the NNMT promoter was cloned and studied by luciferase reporter gene assay. The promoter construct was expressed highly in papillary cancer cell lines, including those with higher (e.g. BHP 2-7) and lower (e.g. BHP 14-9) NNMT gene expression, and expressed weakly in follicular thyroid cancer cell lines. Further study with 5'-deletion promoter construct suggested that the NNMT promoter was regulated differently in BHP 2-7 and BHP 14-9 cells. In BHP 2-7 cells, promoter activity was dependent on an upstream sequence. In BHP 14-9 cells, sequence in the basal promoter region contributed notably to the overall promoter activity. RT-PCR or Western blot analysis indicated that hepatocyte nuclear factor-1beta (HNF-1beta) was expressed in only papillary cancer cell lines with high NNMT gene expression. HNF-1beta was not expressed or expressed very weakly in other papillary, follicular, and Hurthle cancer cell lines and primary cultures of normal thyroid cells and benign thyroid conditions. A HNF-1 binding site was identified in the NNMT basal promoter region. Mutations in this site decreased NNMT promoter activity in the HNF-1beta-positive BHP 2-7 cells, but not in the HNF-1beta-negative BHP 14-9 cells. HNF-1beta bound to the HNF-1 site specifically as a homodimer as determined by gel retardation assays with HNF-1beta-specific antibody. Cotransfection of a HNF-1beta expression plasmid increased NNMT promoter activity significantly in both HNF-1beta-positive and -negative thyroid cancer cell lines and Hep G2 liver cancer cells. Furthermore, transient expression of HNF-1beta in BHP 14-9 cells increased endogenous NNMT protein levels. In summary, HNF-1beta functions as a transcription activator for NNMT gene expression in some papillary thyroid cancer cells.[1]


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