The role of c-Myc-RBM38 loop in the growth suppression in breast cancer
The E2F family of transcription factors plays a pivotal role in the regulation of cell proliferation in higher eukaryotes and is a critical downstream target of the tumor suppressor pRB. The pRB/E2F pathway is defective in most human tumors, resulting in deregulated E2F activity that induces uncontrolled cell proliferation, a hallmark of tumor cells. The RNA-binding protein RBM38, also named RNPC1, induces cell-cycle arrest in G(1), at least in part, via binding to and stabilizing the mRNA of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21. RBM38 levels are altered in human cancer. Generally, RBM38 is overexpressed in various tumors; however, RBM38 mRNA levels are reduced in some breast tumors due to increased methylation of its promoter region. We show here that expression of RBM38 is regulated by E2F1. Specifically, RBM38 mRNA and protein levels are elevated upon activation of either exogenous E2F1 or endogenous E2Fs. Moreover, endogenous E2F1 binds the human RBM38 promoter and E2F1 knockdown reduces RBM38 levels. Our data raise the possibility that E2F1 together with E2F1-regulated RBM38 constitute a negative feedback loop that modulates E2F1 activity. In support of this, inhibition of RBM38 expression increases E2F1-mediated cell-cycle progression. Moreover, in human ovarian cancer, high correlation between expression of E2F1 and RBM38 is associated with increased survival. Overall, our data identify RBM38 as novel transcriptional target of E2F1 that restricts E2F1-induced proliferation. Furthermore, this negative feedback loop seems to restrict tumor aggressiveness, thereby promoting survival of patients with cancer.