Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of bronchogenic carcinoma (BC), yet only 10–15% of heavy smokers develop BC and it is likely that this variation in risk is, in part, genetically determined. We previously reported a set of antioxidant genes for which transcript abundance was lower in normal bronchial epithelial cells (NBEC) of BC individuals compared to non-BC individuals. In unpublished studies of the same NBEC samples, transcript abundance values for several DNA repair genes were correlated with these antioxidant genes. From these data, we hypothesized that antioxidant and DNA repair genes are co-regulated by one or more transcription factors and that inter-individual variation in expression and/or function of one or more of these transcription factors is responsible for inter-individual variation in risk for BC.
The putative transcription factor recognition sites common to six of the antioxidant genes were identified through in silico DNA sequence analysis. The transcript abundance values of these transcription factors (n = 6) and an expanded group of antioxidant and DNA repair genes (n = 16) were measured simultaneously by quantitative PCR in NBEC of 24 non-BC and 25 BC individuals.
CEBPG transcription factor was significantly (p < 0.01) correlated with eight of the antioxidant or DNA repair genes in non-BC individuals but not in BC individuals. In BC individuals the correlation with CEBPG was significantly (p < 0.01) lower than that of non-BC individuals for four of the genes (XRCC1, ERCC5, GSTP1, and SOD1) and the difference was nearly significant for GPX1. The only other transcription factor correlated with any of these five target genes in non-BC individuals was E2F1. E2F1 was correlated with GSTP1 among non-BC individuals, but in contrast to CEBPG, there was no significant difference in this correlation in non-BC individuals compared to BC individuals.
We conclude that CEBPG is the transcription factor primarily responsible for regulating transcription of key antioxidant and DNA repair genes in non-BC individuals. Further, we conclude that the heavy smokers selected for development of BC are those who have sub-optimal regulation of antioxidant and DNA repair genes by CEBPG.
- Mullins, D'Anna N
- Crawford, Erin L
- Khuder, Sadik A
- Hernandez, Dawn-Alita
- Yoon, Youngsook
- Willey, James C
- BMC CANCER Journal
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