Qunna Li

Emory University, Atlanta, GA, United States

Are you Qunna Li?

Claim your profile

Publications (8)39.22 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The proper level of estrogen-ER signaling is important for the maintenance of epithelial homeostasis in the breast. In a previous study, we demonstrated that ATBF1, which has been suggested as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer, inhibited estrogen-mediated cell proliferation by selectively competing with AIB1 for binding to ER. However, the expression of ATBF1 mRNA was shown to positively correlate with ER in breast cancer specimens. We therefore examined whether estrogen regulates ATBF1. We demonstrated that estrogen upregulated the transcription of ATBF1, which was mediated by the direct binding of ER onto the ATBF1 promoter, and that a half estrogen-responsive element in the ATBF1 promoter was essential for the direct binding of ER. Furthermore, we found that estrogen at lower levels increased, but at higher levels decreased the expression of ATBF1 protein, which involved the degradation of ATBF1 protein by the estrogen-responsive proteasome system. ATBF1 protein levels fluctuate with estrogen levels. Although lower levels of estrogen increased ATBF1 protein expression, ATBF1 still inhibited cell proliferation caused by lower levels of estrogen. These findings not only reveal an autoregulatory feedback loop between ATBF1 and estrogen-ER signaling, but also suggest that ATBF1 plays a role in both the maintenance of breast epithelial homeostasis and breast tumorigenesis caused by elevated estrogen levels.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2011; · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The proper level of estrogen-estrogen receptor (ER) signaling is important for the maintenance of epithelial homeostasis in the breast. In a previous study we demonstrated that ATBF1, which has been suggested as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer, inhibited estrogen-mediated cell proliferation by selectively competing with AIB1 for binding to the ER. However, the expression of ATBF1 mRNA was shown to positively correlate with ER in breast cancer specimens. We, therefore, examined whether estrogen regulates ATBF1. We demonstrated that estrogen up-regulated the transcription of ATBF1, which was mediated by the direct binding of the ER onto the ATBF1 promoter, and that a half-estrogen-responsive element in the ATBF1 promoter was essential for ER direct binding. Furthermore, we found that estrogen at lower levels increased, but at higher levels decreased the expression of ATBF1 protein, which involved the degradation of ATBF1 protein by the estrogen-responsive proteasome system. ATBF1 protein levels fluctuate with estrogen levels. Although lower levels of estrogen increased ATBF1 protein expression, ATBF1 still inhibited cell proliferation caused by lower levels of estrogen. These findings not only reveal an autoregulatory feedback loop between ATBF1 and estrogen-ER signaling but also suggest that ATBF1 plays a role in both the maintenance of breast epithelial homeostasis and breast tumorigenesis caused by elevated estrogen levels.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2011; 286(16):13879-90. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Loss of the q22 band of chromosome 16 is a frequent genetic event in breast cancer, and the candidate tumor suppressor gene, ATBF1, has been implicated in breast cancer by genomic deletion, transcriptional down-regulation, and association with better prognostic parameters. In addition, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer expresses a higher level of ATBF1, suggesting a role of ATBF1 in ER-positive breast cancer. In this study, we examined whether and how ATBF1 affects the ER function in breast cancer cells. We found that ATBF1 inhibited ER-mediated gene transcription, cell growth, and proliferation in ER-positive breast cancer cells. In vitro and in vivo immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that ATBF1 interacted physically with the ER and that multiple domains in both ATBF1 and ER proteins mediated the interaction. Furthermore, we demonstrated that ATBF1 inhibited ER function by selectively competing with the steroid receptor coactivator AIB1 but not GRIP1 or SRC1 for binding to the ER. These findings not only support the concept that ATBF1 plays a tumor-suppressive role in breast cancer, they also provide a mechanism for how ATBF1 functions as a tumor suppressor in breast cancer.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(43):32801-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The proto-oncogene MYC plays a critical role in cell proliferation and tumorigenesis, and its down-regulation by transforming growth factor beta (TGFbeta) signaling is necessary for TGFbeta to inhibit cell proliferation. KLF5, on the other hand, is a pro-proliferative basic transcription factor that reverses function to become an anti-proliferative TGFbeta cofactor upon TGFbeta stimulation in epithelial homeostasis. In this study we investigated whether KLF5 directly regulates MYC transcription in epithelial cells in the context of TGFbeta. Knockdown of KLF5 significantly reduced MYC expression in the HaCaT epidermal epithelial cells. When TGFbeta was applied, however, whereas MYC expression was significantly inhibited, knockdown of KLF5 increased MYC expression. Furthermore, re-expression of KLF5 restored the inhibitory effect of TGFbeta on MYC expression in two cancer cell lines. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and oligo pulldown experiments demonstrated that whereas binding of KLF5 to both KLF5 binding element (KBE) and TGFbeta inhibitory element (TIE) DNA elements was necessary for MYC transcription, binding to KBE was decreased by TGFbeta, and binding to TIE was increased by TGFbeta. These results suggest that KLF5 is not only essential for MYC transcription in proliferating epithelial cells but also mediates the inhibitory effect of TGFbeta on MYC transcription. Furthermore, different binding sites mediate different effects of KLF5 in the context of TGFbeta.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2009; 284(41):28243-52. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deletion of chromosome 6q is frequent in breast cancer, and the deletion often involves a region in 6q14-q16. At present, however, the underlying tumor suppressor gene has not been established. Based on a recent study identifying snoRNA U50 as a candidate for the 6q14-16 tumor suppressor gene in prostate cancer, we investigated whether U50 is also involved in breast cancer. PCR-based approaches showed that U50 underwent frequent genomic deletion and transcriptional downregulation in cell lines derived from breast cancer. Mutation screening identified the same 2-bp deletion of U50 as in prostate cancer in both cell lines and primary tumors from breast cancer, and the deletion was both somatic and in germline. Genotyping of a cohort of breast cancer cases and controls for the mutation demonstrated that, while homozygous genotype of the mutation was rare, its heterozygous genotype occurred more frequently in women with breast cancer. Functionally, re-expression of U50 resulted in the inhibition of colony formation in breast cancer cell lines. These results suggest that noncoding snoRNA U50 plays a role in the development and/or progression of breast cancer.
    Journal of Genetics and Genomics 09/2009; 36(8):447-54. · 2.08 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Kruppel-like factor 5 (KLF5) is implicated in human breast cancer by frequent genomic deletion and expressional deregulation, but the molecular mechanisms by which KLF5 affects breast tumorigenesis are still unknown. This study was conducted to examine whether and how KLF5 affects the function of estrogen receptor (ER) in breast cancer cells. Using different cell lines, we found that restored expression of KLF5 inhibited estrogen-promoted cell proliferation in ER-positive MCF-7 and T-47D cell lines but had no effect on ER-negative SK-BR-3 cells. Transcriptional activity of ER was also suppressed by KLF5, as detected by using estrogen-stimulated ER responsive element-mediated reporter assay and expression analysis of ER target genes including c-MYC and Cathepsin D (CSTD). Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that KLF5 inhibited ERalpha binding to the promoter of c-myc and CSTD. Furthermore, estrogen induced an interaction between KLF5 and ERalpha. These results suggest that KLF5 inhibits the function of ERalpha in gene regulation and cell proliferation through protein interaction that interrupts the binding of ERalpha to target gene promoters to prevent target gene induction.
    International Journal of Cancer 07/2009; 126(1):81-9. · 6.20 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: During epithelial homeostasis, stem cells divide to produce progenitor cells, which not only proliferate to generate the cell mass but also respond to cellular signaling to transition from a proliferative state to a differentiation state. Such a transition involves functional alterations of transcriptional factors, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Recent studies have implicated Kruppel-like factors (KLFs) including KLF5 in the renewal and maintenance of stem/progenitor cells. Here we demonstrate that the pro-proliferative factor KLF5 becomes anti-proliferative upon TGFbeta-mediated acetylation in an in vitro model of epithelial homeostasis. In the HaCaT epidermal cell line treated with or without TGFbeta, we found that KLF5 was not only essential for cell proliferation, it was also indispensable for TGFbeta-induced anti-proliferation in these cells. KLF5 inhibited the expression of p15 (CDKN2B), a cell cycle inhibitor, without TGFbeta, but became a coactivator in TGFbeta-induced p15 expression in the same cells. Mechanistically, TGFbeta recruited acetylase p300 to acetylate KLF5, and acetylation in turn altered the binding of KLF5 to p15 promoter, resulting in the reversal of KLF5 function. These studies not only demonstrate that a basic transcription factor can be both pro-proliferation and anti-proliferation in epithelial homeostasis, they also present a unique mechanism for how transcriptional regulation changes during the transition from proliferation to inhibition of proliferation. Furthermore, they establish KLF5 as an essential cofactor for TGFbeta signaling.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2009; 284(10):6071-8. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Deletion of chromosome 6q14-q22 is common in multiple human cancers including prostate cancer, and chromosome 6 transferred into cancer cells induces senescence and reduces cell growth, tumorigenicity and metastasis, indicating the existence of one or more tumor-suppressor genes in 6q. To identify the 6q tumor-suppressor gene, we first narrowed the common region of deletion to a 2.5 Mb interval at 6q14-15. Of the 11 genes located in this minimal deletion region and expressed in normal prostates, only snoRNA U50 was mutated, demonstrated transcriptional downregulation and inhibited colony formation in prostate cancer cells. The mutation, a homozygous 2 bp (TT) deletion, was found in two of 30 prostate cancer cell lines/xenografts and nine of 89 localized prostate cancers (eleven of 119 or 9% cancers). Two of 89 (2%) patients with prostate cancer also showed the same mutation in their germline DNA, but none of 104 cancer-free control men did. The homozygous deletion abolished U50 function in a colony formation assay. Analysis of 1371 prostate cancer cases and 1371 matched control men from a case-control study nested in a prospective cohort showed that, although a germline heterozygous genotype of the deletion was detected in both patients and controls at similar frequencies, the homozygosity of the deletion was significantly associated with clinically significant prostate cancer (odds ratio 2.9; 95% confidence interval 1.17-7.21). These findings establish snoRNA U50 as a reasonable candidate for the 6q tumor-suppressor gene in prostate cancer and likely in other types of cancers.
    Human Molecular Genetics 05/2008; 17(7):1031-42. · 7.69 Impact Factor