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Cell Growth & Differentiation Vol. 12, 327-335, June 2001
© 2001 American Association for Cancer Research

Varying Functions of Specific Major Histocompatibility Class II Transactivator Promoter III and IV Elements in Melanoma Cell Lines1

Bonnie L. Goodwin, Hongkang Xi, Romeena Tejiram, Donna D. Eason, Nilanjan Ghosh, Kenneth L. Wright, Uma Nagarajan, Jeremy M. Boss and George Blanck2

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, College of Medicine and Immunology Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, Florida 33612 [B. L. G., H. X., R. T., D. D. E., N. G., K. L. W., G. B.], and Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322 [U. N., J. M. B.]

Melanoma cells commonly express MHC class II molecules constitutively. This is a rare, or possibly unique, phenotype for a nonprofessional antigen-presenting cell, where MHC class II expression ordinarily occurs only after IFN-{gamma} treatment. Despite the fact that constitutive expression of MHC class II on melanoma cells has been observed for decades and that the regulation of the MHC class II genes is well understood for many different cell types, there is no data regarding the basis for constitutive MHC class II expression in melanoma cells. Here we report that MHC class II expression in melanoma cells can be traced to constitutive expression of the class II transactivator protein (CIITA), which mediates both IFN-{gamma}-inducible and -constitutive MHC class II expression in all other cell types. In addition, we determined that constitutive CIITA expression is the result of the activation of both the B cell-specific CIITA promoter III and the IFN-{gamma}-inducible CIITA promoter IV, the latter of which previously has never been known to function as a constitutive promoter in any cell type. The recently described B cell-related ARE-1 activity is important for promoter III activation in the melanoma cells. Constitutive promoter IV activation involves the IFN regulatory factor element (IRF-E), which binds members of the IRF family of proteins, although the major, IFN-{gamma} inducible member of this family, IRF-1, is not constitutively expressed in these cells. In cells with constitutively active promoter IV, the promoter IV IRF-E is most likely activated by IRF-2. The relevance of these results to the pathway of melanoma development is discussed.




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Cancer Research Clinical Cancer Research
Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Molecular Cancer Research Cell Growth & Differentiation
Copyright © 2001 by the American Association of Cancer Research.