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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Inhibitor of differentiation 4 (Id4) is a potential tumor suppressor in prostate cancer

Jason PW Carey1, Ananthi J Asirvatham1, Oliver Galm2, Tandeih A Ghogomu1 and Jaideep Chaudhary1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Center for Cancer Research and Therapeutics Development, Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, GA 30314, USA

2 Medizinische Klinik IV, Universitaetsklinikum Aachen, RWTH Aachen, Pauwelsstrasse 30, 52074 Aachen, Germany

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:173  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-173

Published: 7 June 2009

Abstract

Background

Inhibitor of differentiation 4 (Id4), a member of the Id gene family is also a dominant negative regulator of basic helix loop helix (bHLH) transcription factors. Some of the functions of Id4 appear to be unique as compared to its other family members Id1, Id2 and Id3. Loss of Id4 gene expression in many cancers in association with promoter hypermethylation has led to the proposal that Id4 may act as a tumor suppressor. In this study we provide functional evidence that Id4 indeed acts as a tumor suppressor and is part of a cancer associated epigenetic re-programming.

Methods

Data mining was used to demonstrate Id4 expression in prostate cancer. Methylation specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) analysis was performed to understand molecular mechanisms associated with Id4 expression in prostate cancer cell lines. The effect of ectopic Id4 expression in DU145 cells was determined by cell cycle analysis (3H thymidine incorporation and FACS), expression of androgen receptor, p53 and cyclin dependent kinase inhibitors p27 and p21 by a combination of RT-PCR, real time-PCR, western blot and immuno-cytochemical analysis.

Results

Id4 expression was down-regulated in prostate cancer. Id4 expression was also down-regulated in prostate cancer line DU145 due to promoter hyper-methylation. Ectopic Id4 expression in DU145 prostate cancer cell line led to increased apoptosis and decreased cell proliferation due in part by an S-phase arrest. In addition to S-phase arrest, ectopic Id4 expression in PC3 cells also resulted in prolonged G2/M phase. At the molecular level these changes were associated with increased androgen receptor (AR), p21, p27 and p53 expression in DU145 cells.

Conclusion

The results suggest that Id4 acts directly as a tumor suppressor by influencing a hierarchy of cellular processes at multiple levels that leads to a decreased cell proliferation and change in morphology that is possibly mediated through induction of previously silenced tumor suppressors.