[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cell-surface glycoprotein MUC1 is a particularly appealing target for antibody targeting, being selectively overexpressed in many types of cancers and a high proportion of cancer stem-like cells. However the occurrence of MUC1 cleavage, which leads to the release of the extracellular α subunit into the circulation where it can sequester many anti-MUC1 antibodies, renders the target problematic to some degree. To address this issue, we generated a set of unique MUC1 monoclonal antibodies that target a region termed the SEA domain that remains tethered to the cell surface after MUC1 cleavage. In breast cancer cell populations, these antibodies bound the cancer cells with high picomolar affinity. Starting with a partially humanized antibody, DMB5F3, we created a recombinant chimeric antibody that bound a panel of MUC1+ cancer cells with higher affinities relative to cetuximab (anti-EGFR1) or tratuzumab (anti-erbB2) control antibodies. DMB5F3 internalization from the cell surface occurred in an efficient temperature-dependent manner. Linkage to toxin rendered these DMB5F3 antibodies to be cytotoxic against MUC1+ cancer cells at low picomolar concentrations. Our findings show that high-affinity antibodies to cell-bound MUC1 SEA domain exert specific cytotoxicity against cancer cells, and they point to the SEA domain as a potential immunogen to generate MUC1 vaccines.
Cancer Research 04/2012; 72(13):3324-36. · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The prostate and testis expression (PATE)-like family of proteins are expressed mainly in the male genital tract. They are localized in the sperm head and are homologous to SP-10, the acrosomal vesicle protein also named ACRV1. Our aim was to characterize the expression and functional role of three PATE-like proteins in the testis and ejaculated sperm.
The expression and localization of PATE-like proteins in human testis biopsies (n= 95) and sperm cells were assessed by RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence staining (at least 600 sperm cells per specimen). The function of the PATE protein was tested by the hemizona assay and hamster egg penetration test (HEPT).
PATE and PATE-M genes and proteins were present almost exclusively in germ cells in the testis: immunoflourescence showed that the percentage of germ cells positive for PATE, PATE-M and PATE-B was 85, 50 and 2%, respectively. PATE and PATE-M proteins were localized in the equatorial segment of the sperm head, while PATE-B protein was localized in the post-acrosomal region. A polyclonal antibody (Ab, at 1:50 and 1:200 dilutions) against the PATE protein did not inhibit sperm-zona binding in the hemizona assay (hemizona index of 89.6 ± 10 and 87 ± 36%, respectively). However, there was inhibition of sperm-oolemma fusion and penetration in the HEPT (penetration index: without Ab 7 ± 3.9; Ab dilution of 1:100, 4 ± 3.5; Ab dilution of 1:20, 0.6 ± 1.2, P < 0.001).
Our data suggest that PATE protein is involved in sperm-oolemma fusion and penetration but not sperm-zona binding.
Human Reproduction 03/2012; 27(5):1238-48. · 4.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We previously suggested a mechanism whereby the RNA induced silencing complex (RISC) brings about a specific cleavage at the sarcin-ricin loop (SRL) of 28S ribosomal RNA thereby eliciting translational suppression. Here we experimentally show that endogenous cleavages take place at the SRL site, in both mammalian cells and in Caenorhabditis elegans. Furthermore we demonstrate that bulged and looped-out residues present in the imperfect miRNA-[mRNA target site] duplexes, are complementary to the SRL site. These results support, and are compatible with, our described mechanism whereby microRNAs mediate cleavage of the highly conserved 28S rRNA sarcin/ricin loop leading to translational suppression.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 11/2011; 414(4):706-11. · 2.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report structural, functional, and biochemical similarities between Argonautes, the effector proteins of RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISCs), and alpha-sarcin-like ribotoxins. At the structural level, regions of similarity in the amino acid sequence are located in protein loops both in the ribotoxins and in the Argonautes. In ribotoxins, these protein loops confer specificity for a highly conserved segment of ribosomal RNA, the Sarcin-Ricin-Loop (SRL) that undergoes cleavage by the ribotoxin ribonuclease. This leads to suppression of translation. In addition to the structural similarity with ribotoxins, the Argonaute proteins (Ago) show both functional and biochemical parallels. Like the ribotoxins, the Agos exhibit ribonuclease activity and like the ribotoxins, translational suppression mediated by miRISC-resident Ago is accompanied by intact polysomes. Furthermore, in both translationally suppressed systems, the puromycin reaction, reflecting correct translocation and peptidyl-transferase activities, is unharmed. These findings support a mechanism for Ago-miRISCs whereby regulated cleavage of ribosomal RNA leads to translational suppression.
Protein Science 06/2010; 19(6):1272-8. · 2.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) integrates changes to cell morphology and signaling pathways resulting from modifications to the cell's transcriptional response. Different combinations of stimuli ignite this process in the contexts of development or tumor progression. The human MUC1 gene encodes multiple alternatively spliced forms of a polymorphic oncoprotein that is aberrantly expressed in epithelial malignancies. MUC1 is endowed with various signaling modules and has the potential to mediate proliferative and morphological changes characteristic of the progression of epithelial tumors. The tyrosine-rich cytoplasmic domain and the heavily glycosylated extracellular domain both play a role in MUC1-mediated signal transduction. However, the attribution of function to specific domains of MUC1 is difficult due to the concomitant presence of multiple forms of the protein, which stem from alternative splicing and proteolytic cleavage. Here we show that DA3 mouse mammary tumor cells stably transfected with a truncated genomic fragment of human MUC1 undergo EMT. In their EMT, these cells demonstrate altered [i] morphology, [ii] signaling pathways and [iii] expression of epithelial and mesenchymal markers. Similarly to well characterized human breast cancer cell lines, cells transfected with truncated MUC1 show an ERK-dependent increased spreading on fibronectin, and a PI3K-dependent enhancement of their proliferative rate.
Experimental Cell Research 01/2009; · 3.56 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MUC1, a heavily glycosylated mucin, has generated considerable interest as a target for tumor killing because of its overexpression in malignancies. Full-length MUC1 (MUC1/TM) is proteolytically cleaved after synthesis generating alpha and beta subunits, which specifically bind in a noncovalent interaction. Although the beta chain remains on the cell surface, the alpha chain binds in an on-and-off interaction. Most anti-MUC1 antibodies (Abs) described to date recognize epitopes within the highly immunogenic alpha-chain tandem repeat. Because the alpha-chain is shed, such Abs are sequestered and fail to reach MUC1-expressing cells. Immunizing with cDNA encoding MUC1/TM and the spliced MUC1/X isoform from which the tandem repeat has been deleted yielded antibodies to the MUC1 alpha/beta junction. Pseudomonas toxin PE38 linked to polyclonal anti-MUC1 alpha/beta junction Abs both bound and killed MUC1-positive malignant cells. Monoclonal DMC209 binds the MUC1 alpha/beta junction in both MUC1/X and MUC1/TM. When injected into SCID mice xenotransplanted with human breast cancer MDA-MB-231, monoclonal DMC209 showed significant in vivo tumor-suppressive activity. The MUC1/X alpha/beta junction presents a biologically-significant target in MUC1-expressing malignancies because (i) antibodies directed against cell-bound alpha/beta junction epitopes reach the intended cellular target, (ii) antibodies to junction epitope are internalized into cells, (iii) anti alpha/beta junction antibodies can effectively kill high MUC1-expressing cancer cells as antibody-toxin conjugates and (iv) antibodies targeting the MUC1 cell-bound alpha/beta junction results in tumor suppression in vivo. Our results indicate that cell-bound MUC1 alpha/beta junction, unlike shed alpha chain, represents a highly effective moiety for targeting and killing MUC1-expressing malignancies.
International Journal of Cancer 10/2008; 124(1):46-54. · 6.20 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report here syntenic loci in humans and mice incorporating gene clusters coding for secreted proteins each comprising 10 cysteine residues. These conform to three-fingered protein/Ly-6/urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR) domains that shape three-fingered proteins (TFPs). The founding gene is PATE, expressed primarily in prostate and less in testis. We have identified additional human PATE-like genes (PATE-M, PATE-DJ, and PATE-B) that co-localize with the PATE locus, code for novel secreted PATE-like proteins, and show selective expression in prostate and/or testis. Anti-PATE-B-specific antibodies demonstrated the presence of PATE-B in the region of the sperm acrosome and at high levels on malignant prostatic epithelial cells. The syntenic mouse Pate-like locus encompasses 14 active genes coding for secreted proteins, which are all, except for Pate-P and Pate-Q, expressed primarily in prostate and/or testis. Pate-P and Pate-Q are expressed solely in placental tissue. Castration up-regulates prostate expression of mouse Pate-B and Pate-E, whereas testosterone ablates this induced expression. The sequence similarity between TFP/Ly-6/uPAR proteins that modulate activity of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors and the PATE (Pate)-like proteins stimulated us to see whether these proteins possess analogous activity. Pharmacological studies showed significant modulation of the nicotinic acetylcholines by the PATE-B, Pate-C, and Pate-P proteins. In concert with these findings, certain PATE (Pate)-like genes were extensively expressed in neuron-rich tissues. Taken together, our findings indicate that in addition to participation of the PATE (Pate)-like genes in functions related to fertility and reproduction, some of them likely act as important modulators of neural transmission.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2008; 283(24):16928-39. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In the review, the nature of protein multifunctionality is analyzed. In the first part of the review the principles of structural/functional organization of protein are discussed. In the second part, the main mechanisms involved in development of multiple functions on a single gene product(s) are analyzed. The last part represents a number of examples showing that multifunctionality is a basic feature of biologically active proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MUC1 has generated considerable interest as a tumor marker and potential target for tumor killing. To date, most antibodies against MUC1 recognize epitopes within the highly immunogenic alpha chain tandem repeat array. A major shortcoming of such antibodies is that the MUC1 alpha chain is shed into the peripheral circulation, sequesters circulating antitandem repeat array antibodies, and limits their ability to even reach targeted MUC1-expressing cells. Antibodies recognizing MUC1 epitopes tethered to the cell surface would likely be more effective. MUC1 alpha subunit binding the membrane-tethered beta subunit provides such an epitope. By use of a novel protocol entailing immunization with cDNA encoding full-length MUC1 (MUC1/TM) followed by boosting with the alternatively spliced MUC1/X isoform from which the tandem repeat array has been deleted, we generated monoclonal antibodies, designated DMC209, which specifically bind the MUC1 alpha/beta junction. DMC209 is exquisitely unique for this site; amino acid mutations, which abrogate MUC1 cleavage, also abrogate DMC209 binding. Additionally, DMC209 specifically binds the MUC1 alpha/beta junction on full-length MUC1/TM expressed by breast and ovarian cancer cell lines and on freshly obtained, unmanipulated MUC1-positive malignant plasma cells of multiple myeloma. DMC209 is likely to have clinical application by targeting MUC1-expressing cells directly and as an immunotoxin conjugate. Moreover, the novel immunization procedure used in generating DMC209 can be used to generate additional anti-MUC1 alpha/beta junction antibodies, which may, analogously to Herceptin, have cytotoxic activity. Lastly, sequential immunization with MUC1/TM cDNA acting as a nonspecific adjuvant followed by protein of interest may prove to be a generalizable method to yield high-titer specific antibodies.
Cancer Research 01/2007; 66(23):11247-53. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MUC1 gene encodes a mucin glycoprotein(s) which is basally expressed in most epithelial cells. In breast adenocarcinoma and a variety of epithelial tumors its transcription is dramatically upregulated. Of particular relevance to breast cancer, steroid hormones also stimulate the expression of the MUC1 gene. The MUC1 gene directs expression of several protein isoforms, which participate in many crucial cell processes. Although the MUC1 gene plays a critical role in cell physiology and pathology, little is known about its promoter organization and transcriptional regulation. The goal of this study was to provide insight into the structure and transcriptional activity of the MUC1 promoter.
Using TRANSFAC and TSSG soft-ware programs the transcription factor binding sites of the MUC1 promoter were analyzed and a map of transcription cis-elements was constructed. The effect of different MUC1 promoter regions on MUC1 gene expression was monitored. Different regions of the MUC1 promoter were analyzed for their ability to control expression of specific MUC1 isoforms. Differences in the expression of human MUC1 gene transfected into mouse cells (heterologous artificial system) compared to human cells (homologous natural system) were observed. The role of estrogen on MUC1 isoform expression in human breast cancer cells, MCF-7 and T47D, was also analyzed. It was shown for the first time that synthesis of MUC1/SEC is dependent on estrogen whereas expression of MUC1/TM did not demonstrate such dependence. Moreover, the estrogen receptor alpha, ERalpha, could bind in vitro estrogen responsive cis-elements, EREs, that are present in the MUC1 promoter. The potential roles of different regions of the MUC1 promoter and ER in regulation of MUC1 gene expression are discussed.
Analysis of the structure and transcriptional activity of the MUC1 promoter performed in this study helps to better understand the mechanisms controlling transcription of the MUC1 gene. The role of different regions of the MUC1 promoter in expression of the MUC1 isoforms and possible function of ERalpha in this process has been established. The data obtained in this study may help in development of molecular modalities for controlled regulation of the MUC1 gene thus contributing to progress in breast cancer gene therapy.
Molecular Cancer 02/2006; 5:57. · 5.13 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MUC1, a glycoprotein overexpressed by a variety of human adenocarcinomas, is a type I transmembrane protein (MUC1/TM) that soon after its synthesis undergoes proteolytic cleavage in its extracellular domain. This cleavage generates two subunits, alpha and beta, that specifically recognize each other and bind together in a strong noncovalent interaction. Proteolysis occurs within the SEA module, a 120-amino acid domain that is highly conserved in a number of heavily glycosylated mucin-like proteins. Post-translational cleavage of the SEA module occurs at a site similar to that in MUC1 in the glycoproteins IgHepta and MUC3. However, as in the case of other proteins containing the cleaved SEA module, the mechanism of MUC1 proteolysis has not been elucidated. Alternative splicing generates two transmembrane MUC1 isoforms, designated MUC1/Y and MUC1/X. We demonstrated here that MUC1/X, whose extracellular domain is comprised solely of the SEA module in addition to 30 MUC1 N-terminal amino acids, undergoes proteolytic cleavage at the same site as the MUC1/TM protein. In contrast, the MUC1/Y isoform, composed of an N-terminally truncated SEA module, is not cleaved. Cysteine or threonine mutations of the MUC1/X serine residue (Ser-63) immediately C-terminal to the cleavage site generated cleaved proteins, whereas mutation of the Ser-63 residue of MUC1/X to any other of 17 amino acids did not result in cleavage. In vitro incubation of highly purified precursor MUC1/X protein resulted in self-cleavage. Furthermore, addition of hydroxylamine, a strong nucleophile, markedly enhanced cleavage. Both these features are signature characteristics of self-cleaving proteins, and we concluded that MUC1 undergoes autoproteolysis mediated by an N --> O-acyl rearrangement at the cleavage site followed by hydrolytic resolution of the unstable ester and concomitant cleavage. It is likely that all cleaved SEA module-containing proteins follow a similar route.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2005; 280(39):33374-86. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genes that have been designated the name "MUC" code for proteins comprising mucin domains. These proteins may be involved in barrier and protective functions. The first such gene to be characterized and sequenced is the MUC1 gene. Here we report a novel small protein derived from the MUC1 gene by alternative splicing that does not contain the hallmark of mucin proteins, the mucin domain. This protein termed MUC1/ZD retains the same N-terminal MUC1 sequences as all of the other known MUC1 protein isoforms. The common N-terminal sequences comprise the signal peptide and a subsequent stretch of 30 amino acids. In contrast, the MUC1/ZD C-terminal 43 amino acids are novel and result from a reading frameshift engendered by a splicing event that forms MUC1/ZD. The expression of MUC1/ZD at the protein level in human tissues is demonstrated by Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, immunoprecipitation, and an ELISA. Utilization was made of affinity-purified MUC1/ZD-specific polyclonal antibodies as well as two different monoclonal antibodies that are monospecific for the MUC1/ZD protein. The MUC1/ZD protein is expressed in tissues as an oligomeric complex composed of monomers linked by disulfide bonds contributed by MUC1/ZD cysteine residues. MUC1/ZD protein expression did not parallel that of the tandem-repeat array-containing MUC1 protein. Results presented here demonstrate for the first time the expression of a novel MUC1 protein isoform MUC1/ZD, which is generated by an alternative splicing event that both deletes the tandem-repeat array and leads to a C-terminal reading frameshift.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2005; 280(11):10655-63. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Implantation of DA-3 mammary tumor cells into BALB/c mice results in tumor growth, metastatic lesions, and death. These cells were transfected with genes encoding for either the transmembrane (DA-3/TM) or secreted (DA-3/sec) form of human mucin 1 (MUC1). Although the gene for the secreted form lacks the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains, the 5' sequences of these mucins are identical; however, the gene for the secreted mucin isoform ends with a sequence encoding for a unique 11 amino acid peptide. The DA-3/TM or DA-3 cells transfected with the neomycin vector only (DA-3/neo) have the same in vivo growth characteristics as the parent cell line. In contrast, DA-3/sec cells fail to grow when implanted in immunocompetent BALB/c animals. DA-3/sec cells implanted in nude mice resulted in tumor development verifying the tumorigenic potential of these cells. Pre-exposure of BALB/c mice to DA-3/sec cells afforded protection against challenge with DA-3/TM or DA-3/neo mammary tumors and the unrelated tumors K7, an osteosarcoma, and RENCA, a renal cell carcinoma. Partial protection against subsequent tumor challenges was also achieved by substituting the 11 amino acid peptide found only in the secreted MUC1 isoform, for the live DA-3/sec cells. Notably, the efficacy of this peptide is not strain restricted because it also retarded the growth of Lewis lung carcinoma cells in C57 BL/6 mice. These findings reveal that a unique peptide present in the secreted MUC1 has immunoenhancing properties and may be a potential agent for use in immunotherapy.
Cancer Research 12/2004; 64(21):8077-84. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cell surface mucin MUC1 is expressed by endometrial epithelial cells with increased abundance in the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle, when it is found both at the apical cell surface and in secretions. This suggests the presence of a maternal cell surface glycoprotein barrier to embryo implantation, arising from the anti-adhesive property of MUC1. In previous work, we demonstrated alternatively spliced MUC1 variant forms in tumour cells. The variant MUC1/SEC lacks the transmembrane and cytoplasmic sequences found in the full-length variant. We now show that MUC1/SEC mRNA is present in endometrial carcinoma cell lines, endometrial tissue and primary cultured endometrial epithelial cells. The protein can be detected using isoform-specific antibodies in uterine flushings, suggesting release from endometrium in vivo. However, on the basis of immunolocalisation studies, MUC1/SEC also remains associated with the apical epithelial surface both in tissue and in cultured cells. Transmembrane MUC1 and MUC1/SEC are both strikingly localised to the apical surface of tubal epithelium. Thus MUC1 may contribute to the anti-adhesive character of the tubal surface, inhibiting ectopic implantation. The mechanism by which this barrier is overcome in endometrium at implantation is the subject of ongoing investigation.
Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology 02/2003; 1:2. · 2.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A mechanism is described whereby one and the same gene can encode both a receptor protein as well as its specific ligand. Generation of this receptor-ligand partnership is effected by proteolytic cleavage within a specific module located in a membrane resident protein. It is postulated here that the "SEA" module, found in a number of heavily O-linked glycosylated membrane-associated proteins, serves as a site for proteolytic cleavage. The subunits generated by proteolytic cleavage of the SEA module reassociate, and can subsequently elicit a signaling cascade. We hypothesize that all membrane resident proteins containing such a "SEA" module will undergo cleavage, thereby generating a receptor-ligand alliance. This requires that the protein subunits resulting from the proteolytic cleavage reassociate with each other in a highly specific fashion. The same SEA module that serves as the site for proteolytic cleavage, probably also contains the binding sites for reassociation of the resultant two subunits. More than one type of module can function as a site for proteolytic cleavage; this can occur not only in one-pass membrane proteins but also in 7-transmembrane proteins and other membrane-associated proteins. The proposal presented here is likely to have significant practical consequences. It could well lead to the rational design and identification of molecules that, by binding to one of the cleaved partners, will act either as agonists or antagonists, alter signal transduction and, hence, cellular behavior.
Protein Science 04/2002; 11(3):698-706. · 2.74 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transmembrane mucins are glycoproteins involved in barrier function in epithelial tissues. To identify novel transmembrane mucin genes, we performed a tblastn search of the GenBank(TM) EST data bases with a serine/ threonine-rich search string, and a rodent gene expressed in bone marrow was identified. We determined the cDNA sequence of the human orthologue of this gene, MUC13, which localizes to chromosome band 3q13.3 and generates 3.2-kilobase pair transcripts encoding a 512-amino acid protein comprised of an N-terminal mucin repeat domain, three epidermal growth factor-like sequences, a SEA module, a transmembrane domain, and a cytoplasmic tail (GenBank(TM) accession no. AF286113), MUC13 mRNA is expressed most highly in the large intestine and trachea, and at moderate levels in the kidney, small intestine, appendix, and stomach, In situ hybridization in murine tissues revealed expression in intestinal epithelial and lymphoid cells. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated the human MUC13 protein on the apical membrane of both columnar and goblet cells in the gastrointestinal tract, as well as within goblet cell thecae, indicative of secretion in addition to presence on the cell surface. MUC13 is cleaved, and the beta -subunit containing the cytoplasmic tail undergoes homodimerization, Including MUC13, there are at least five cell surface mucins expressed in the gastrointestinal tract.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2001; · 4.65 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Analyses of MUC1-specific cytotoxic T cell precursor (CTLp) frequencies were performed in mice immunized with three different MUC1 vaccine immunotherapeutic agents. Mice were immunized with either a fusion protein comprising MUC1 and glutathione S-transferase (MUC1-GST), MUC1-GST fusion protein coupled to mannan (MFP) or with a recombinant vaccinia virus expressing both MUC1 and interleukin-2. Mouse strain variations in immune responsiveness have been observed with these vaccines. We have constructed mice transgenic for the human MUC1 gene to study MUC1-specific immune responses and the risk of auto-immunity following MUC1 immunization. Transgenic mice immunized with MUC1 were observed to be partially tolerant in that the MUC1-specific antibody response is lower than that observed in syngeneic but non-transgenic mice. However, a significant MUC1-specific CTLp response to all three vaccines was observed, indicating the ability to overcome T cell, but to a lesser extent B cell, tolerance to MUC1 in these mice. Histological analysis indicates no evidence of auto-immunity to the cells expressing the human MUC1 molecule. These results suggest that it is possible to generate an immune response to a cancer-related antigen without damage to normal tissues expressing the antigen.
Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 02/2000; 48(10):588-94. · 3.64 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The MUC1 gene encodes a mucin glycoprotein and is overexpressed in breast cancer. Knowledge of the mechanisms leading to MUC1 overexpression may help in the development of molecular approaches for breast cancer therapy. In order to study the regulation of the MUC1 gene transcription, we analyzed functional activities of various deletion mutants of the MUC1 promoter. We established that transcriptional cis-elements present in the SacI/XmnI fragment of the promoter are competent and sufficient for expression of, at least, tandem repeats containing isoform(s) of the MUC1 protein. CAT transfection analysis showed that both the 3' and 5' regions of the SacI/XmnI fragment possess transcription activities. Promoter activities associated with the SacI/XmnI fragment were confirmed by a RNase protection assay, which demonstrated multiple transcription start sites (TSSs) in the MUC1 gene transcribed in epithelial T47D cells. We show that treatment of the T47D cells with TGFbeta1 leads to activation of additional TSSs in the MUC1 gene. The roles of the structural and functional properties of the MUC1 promoter in MUC1 gene transcription are discussed.