Joseph R Evans

Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States

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Publications (4)31.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The small heat shock protein alphaB-crystallin is a molecular chaperone that is induced by stress and protects cells by inhibiting protein aggregation and apoptosis. To identify novel transcriptional regulators of the alphaB-crystallin gene, we examined the alphaB-crystallin promoter for conserved transcription factor DNA-binding elements and identified a putative response element for the p53 tumor suppressor protein. Ectopic expression of wild-type p53 induced alphaB-crystallin mRNA and protein with delayed kinetics compared to p21. Additionally, the induction of alphaB-crystallin by genotoxic stress was inhibited by siRNAs targeting p53. Although the p53-dependent transactivation of an alphaB-crystallin promoter luciferase reporter required the putative p53RE, chromatin immunoprecipitation failed to detect p53 binding to the alphaB-crystallin promoter. These results suggested an indirect mechanism of transactivation involving p53 family members p63 or p73. DeltaNp73 was dramatically induced by p53 in a TAp73-dependent manner, and silencing p73 suppressed the transcriptional activation of alphaB-crystallin by p53. Moreover, ectopic expression of DeltaNp73alpha (but not other p73 isoforms) increased alphaB-crystallin mRNA levels in the absence of p53. Collectively, our results link the molecular chaperone alphaB-crystallin to the cellular genotoxic stress response via a novel mechanism of transcriptional regulation by p53 and p73.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 09/2009; 122(1):159-68. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies indicate that the small heat shock protein alphaB-crystallin is expressed in poor prognosis basal-like breast tumors and likely contributes to their aggressive phenotype. However, the mechanisms underlying the deregulated expression of alphaB-crystallin in basal-like tumors are poorly understood. Using a bioinformatics approach, we identified a putative DNA binding motif in the human alphaB-crystallin promoter for the proto-oncogene Ets1, a member of the ETS transcription factor family that bind to DNA at palindromic ETS-binding sites (EBS). Here we demonstrate that ectopic expression of Ets1 activates the alphaB-crystallin promoter by an EBS-dependent mechanism and increases alphaB-crystallin protein levels, while silencing Ets1 reduces alphaB-crystallin promoter activity and protein levels. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses showed that endogenous Ets1 binds to the alphaB-crystallin promoter in basal-like breast cancer cells in vivo. Interrogation of publically available gene expression data revealed that Ets1 is expressed in human basal-like breast tumors and is associated with poor survival. Collectively, our results point to a previously unrecognized link between the oncogenic transcription factor Ets1 and alphaB-crystallin in basal-like breast cancer.
    Breast Cancer Research and Treatment 03/2009; 119(1):63-70. · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gene-expression profiling has revealed several molecular subtypes of breast cancer, which differ in their pathobiology and clinical outcomes. Basal-like tumors are a newly recognized subtype of breast cancer, which express genes that are characteristic of basal epithelial cells, such as the basal cytokeratins, and are associated with poor relapse-free and overall survival. However, the genetic and epigenetic alterations that are responsible for the biologically aggressive phenotype of these estrogen receptor-negative and HER2/ErbB2-negative tumors are not well understood, thereby hindering efforts to develop targeted therapies. Here, we focus on new insights into the molecular pathogenesis of basal-like breast cancer and explore how these discoveries might impact the treatment of these poor-prognosis tumors.
    Trends in Molecular Medicine 12/2006; 12(11):537-44. · 9.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent gene profiling studies have identified a new breast cancer subtype, the basal-like group, which expresses genes characteristic of basal epithelial cells and is associated with poor clinical outcomes. However, the genes responsible for the aggressive behavior observed in this group are largely unknown. Here we report that the small heat shock protein alpha-basic-crystallin (alphaB-crystallin) was commonly expressed in basal-like tumors and predicted poor survival in breast cancer patients independently of other prognostic markers. We also demonstrate that overexpression of alphaB-crystallin transformed immortalized human mammary epithelial cells (MECs). In 3D basement membrane culture, alphaB-crystallin overexpression induced luminal filling and other neoplastic-like changes in mammary acini, while silencing alphaB-crystallin by RNA interference inhibited these abnormalities. alphaB-Crystallin overexpression also induced EGF- and anchorage-independent growth, increased cell migration and invasion, and constitutively activated the MAPK kinase/ERK (MEK/ERK) pathway. Moreover, the transformed phenotype conferred by alphaB-crystallin was suppressed by MEK inhibitors. In addition, immortalized human MECs overexpressing alphaB-crystallin formed invasive mammary carcinomas in nude mice that recapitulated aspects of human basal-like breast tumors. Collectively, our results indicate that alphaB-crystallin is a novel oncoprotein expressed in basal-like breast carcinomas that independently predicts shorter survival. Our data also implicate the MEK/ERK pathway as a potential therapeutic target for these tumors.
    Journal of Clinical Investigation 02/2006; 116(1):261-70. · 12.81 Impact Factor