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Open Access Research article

Microarray analysis revealing common and distinct functions of promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) signaling in endothelial cells

Xiwen Cheng and Hung-Ying Kao*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Comprehensive Cancer Center of CWRU and University Hospital of Cleveland (UHC), Cleveland, OH 44106, USA

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BMC Genomics 2012, 13:453  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-453

Published: 4 September 2012



Promyelocytic leukemia protein (PML) is a tumor suppressor that is highly expressed in endothelial cells nonetheless its role in endothelial cell biology remains elusive. Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα) is an important cytokine associated with many inflammation-related diseases. We have previously demonstrated that TNFα induces PML protein accumulation. We hypothesized that PML may play a role in TNFα signaling pathway. To identify potential PML target genes and investigate the putative crosstalk between PML’s function and TNFα signaling in endothelial cells, we carried out a microarray analysis in human primary umbilical endothelial cells (HUVECs).


We found that PML and TNFα regulate common and distinct genes involved in a similar spectrum of biological processes, pathways and human diseases. More importantly, we found that PML is required for fine-tuning of TNFα-mediated immune and inflammatory responses. Furthermore, our data suggest that PML and TNFα synergistically regulate cell adhesion by engaging multiple molecular mechanisms. Our biological functional assays exemplified that adhesion of U937 human leukocytes to HUVECs is co-regulated by PML and TNFα signaling.


Together, our study identified PML as an essential regulator of TNFα signaling by revealing the crosstalk between PML knockdown-mediated effects and TNFα-elicited signaling, thereby providing novel insights into TNFα signaling in endothelial cells.

PML; TNFα; Endothelial cells; Microarray; Inflammation; Cell adhesion