Open Access Open Badges Research article

Down-regulation of the expression of CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α gene in cervical squamous cell carcinoma

Zemin Pan12*, Weinan Zheng12, Jinli Zhang12, Rui Gao12, Dongmei Li1, Xiaoqing Guo1, Hu Han1, Feng Li1, Shen Qu2 and Renfu Shao3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Medicine, Shihezi University, Xinjiang Endemic and Ethnic Disease and Education Ministry Key Laboratory, Shihezi, Xinjiang 832002, China

2 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Basic Medical Science of Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, Hubei 430030, China

3 Genecology Research Centre, Faculty of Science, Health, Education and Engineering, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore DC, Brisbane, Queensland 4558, Australia

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BMC Cancer 2014, 14:417  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-14-417

Published: 10 June 2014



Cervical carcinoma is the second most common cancer and is an important cause of death in women worldwide. CCAAT/enhancer binding proteins (C/EBPs) are a family of transcription factors that regulate cellular differentiation and proliferation in a variety of tissues. However, the role of C/EBPα gene in cervical cancer is still not clear.


We investigated the expression of C/EBPα gene in cervical squamous cell carcinoma. C/EBPα mRNA level was measured by real-time quantitative RT-PCR in cervical cancer tissues and their adjacent normal tissues. C/EBPα protein level was measured by immunohistochemistry. Methylation in the promoter of C/EBPα gene was detected by MALDI TOF MassARRAY. We transfected HeLa cells with C/EBPα expression vector. C/EBPα expression in HeLa cells was examined and HeLa cell proliferation was measured by MTT assay and HeLa cells migration was analyzed by matrigel-coated transwell migration assays.


There were significant difference in C/EBPα protein expression between chronic cervicitis and cervical carcinoma (P < 0.001). CEBPα mRNA level was significantly lower in cervical cancer tissues than in normal cervical tissues (P < 0.01). Methylation of the promoter of CEBPα gene in CpG 5, CpG-14.15, CpG-19.20 were significantly higher in cervical cancer than in normal cervical tissues (P < 0.05, P < 0.01, P < 0.05, respectively). CEBPα pcDNA3.1 construct transfected into HeLa cells inhibited cell proliferation and decreased cell migration.


Our results indicate that reduced C/EBPα gene expression may play a role in the development of cervical squamous cell carcinoma.

C/EBPα gene; Gene expression; Cervical squamous cell carcinoma