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Open Access Research article

The bone morphogenetic protein antagonist gremlin 1 is overexpressed in human cancers and interacts with YWHAH protein

Hong Namkoong1, Seung Min Shin1, Hyun Kee Kim1, Seon-Ah Ha1, Goang Won Cho1, Soo Young Hur2, Tae Eung Kim2 and Jin Woo Kim12*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Genetic Laboratory, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-040, Korea

2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-040, Korea

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BMC Cancer 2006, 6:74  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-6-74

Published: 18 March 2006

Abstract

Background

Basic studies of oncogenesis have demonstrated that either the elevated production of particular oncogene proteins or the occurrence of qualitative abnormalities in oncogenes can contribute to neoplastic cellular transformation. The purpose of our study was to identify an unique gene that shows cancer-associated expression, and characterizes its function related to human carcinogenesis.

Methods

We used the differential display (DD) RT-PCR method using normal cervical, cervical cancer, metastatic cervical tissues, and cervical cancer cell lines to identify genes overexpressed in cervical cancers and identified gremlin 1 which was overexpressed in cervical cancers. We determined expression levels of gremlin 1 using Northern blot analysis and immunohistochemical study in various types of human normal and cancer tissues. To understand the tumorigenesis pathway of identified gremlin 1 protein, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen, GST pull down assay, and immunoprecipitation to identify gremlin 1 interacting proteins.

Results

DDRT-PCR analysis revealed that gremlin 1 was overexpressed in uterine cervical cancer. We also identified a human gremlin 1 that was overexpressed in various human tumors including carcinomas of the lung, ovary, kidney, breast, colon, pancreas, and sarcoma. PIG-2-transfected HEK 293 cells exhibited growth stimulation and increased telomerase activity. Gremlin 1 interacted with homo sapiens tyrosine 3-monooxygenase/tryptophan 5-monooxygenase activation protein, eta polypeptide (14-3-3 eta; YWHAH). YWHAH protein binding site for gremlin 1 was located between residues 61–80 and gremlin 1 binding site for YWHAH was found to be located between residues 1 to 67.

Conclusion

Gremlin 1 may play an oncogenic role especially in carcinomas of the uterine cervix, lung, ovary, kidney, breast, colon, pancreas, and sarcoma. Over-expressed gremlin 1 functions by interaction with YWHAH. Therefore, Gremlin 1 and its binding protein YWHAH could be good targets for developing diagnostic and therapeutic strategies against human cancers.