Immunoglobulins (Igs) are known to be synthesized and secreted only by B lymphocytes. Class switch recombination (CSR) is a key event that enables B cells to express Igs, and one of the crucial steps for CSR initiation is the germline transcription of Ig genes. Surprisingly, recent studies have demonstrated that the Ig genes are also expressed in some epithelial cancer cells; however, the mechanisms underlying how cancer cells initiate CSR and express Igs are still unknown. In this study, we confirmed that the Ig Iα1 promoter in cancer cell lines was activated by the Ets-1 transcription factor, and the activity of the Ig Iα1 promoter and Ig Iα1-Cα1 germline transcription were attenuated after knockdown of Ets-1 by specific small interfering RNAs (siRNA). Furthermore, the expression of Ets-1 and Igα heavy chain in cancer cells was dose dependently upregulated by TGF-β1. These results indicate that activation of the Ig Iα1 promoter by the transcription factor Ets-1 is a critical pathway and provides a novel mechanism for Ig expression in non-B cell cancers.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the National High Technology Research and Development Program (863) of China (No. 2006AA02A404) and the National Nature Science Foundation of China (Nos. 30772465 and 30973399).
- Epithelial cancer cells
- Ig Iα1 promoter