We showed previously that CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα), a tissue-specific transcription factor, is a candidate tumor suppressor in lung cancer. In the present study, we have performed a transcriptional profiling study of C/EBPα target genes using an inducible cell line system. This study led to the identification of hepatocyte nuclear factor 3β (HNF3β), a transcription factor known to play a role in airway differentiation, as a downstream target of C/EBPα. We found downregulation of HNF3β expression in a large proportion of lung cancer cell lines examined and identified two novel mutants of HNF3β, as well as hypermethylation of the HNF3β promoter. We also developed a tetracycline-inducible cell line model to study the cellular consequences of HNF3β expression. Conditional expression of HNF3β led to significant growth reduction, proliferation arrest, apoptosis, and loss of clonogenic ability, suggesting additionally that HNF3β is a novel tumor suppressor in lung cancer. This is the first study to show genetic abnormalities of lung-specific differentiation pathways in the development of lung cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research