Journal Article

Transcription factor AP-2α represses both the mucin MUC4 expression and pancreatic cancer cell proliferation

Valérie Fauquette, Sébastien Aubert, Sophie Groux-Degroote, Brigitte Hemon, Nicole Porchet, Isabelle Van Seuningen and Pascal Pigny

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 28, issue 11, pages 2305-2312
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online July 2007 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
Transcription factor AP-2α represses both the mucin MUC4 expression and pancreatic cancer cell proliferation

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MUC4 is a transmembrane mucin expressed in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (DAC) in contrast to normal pancreas, and is an independent predictor of poor prognosis in patients with invasive DAC. Our aim was therefore to investigate the mechanisms that control MUC4 expression in pancreatic cancer cells. We focused our study on activator protein (AP)-2α transcription factor that acts as a tumour suppressor gene in several cancers. In a series of 18 human DAC, using immunohistochemistry, we confirmed that MUC4 was exclusively expressed in cancerous or preneoplastic lesions in 83% of the samples. On the contrary, AP-2 was mainly expressed by non-tumoural ductal cells (61%) or endocrine cells (67%). Moreover, MUC4 and AP-2 were never found co-expressed suggesting an inhibitory role of AP-2α in normal ductal cells. In CAPAN-1 and CAPAN-2 cells, transient AP-2α over-expression decreased both MUC4 mRNA and apomucin levels by 20–40% by a mechanism involving inhibition of MUC4 promoter. By chromatin immunoprecipitation and gel-shift assays, we demonstrated that this inhibition involved two AP-2 cis-elements located in the −475/−238 region of the promoter. CAPAN-1 clones, which stably over-expressed AP-2α, displayed a strong MUC4 down-regulation (−38 to −100%), a significant decrease of both cell proliferation and invasion concomitant to the up-regulation of p27 cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor. In conclusion, our data provide evidence that AP-2α is an important in vivo negative regulator of MUC4 expression in human pancreatic tissue and that AP-2α may play a tumour-suppressive role in pancreatic DAC.

Journal Article.  5880 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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