Negative regulation of the expressions of cytokeratins 8 and 19 by SLUG repressor protein in human breast cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Apr 8;329(2):508-15. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2005.02.006.


Invasiveness of tumor cells is often determined by the profile of their expressed genes. To determine the gene expression differences between an invasive and a non-invasive human breast tumor cells, we selected BT-549 (invasive) and MDA-MB-468 (non-invasive) cells, and compared their transcriptomes by cDNA microarray analysis. Among the significant differences in gene expressions, notable are the up-regulation of cytokeratins 8 and 19, and down-regulation of metallothioneins 1G and IL in MDA-MB-468 cells. Since MDA-MB-468 cells do not express SLUG, a member of a small family of E2-box-binding zinc finger silencer proteins, we studied whether the cytokeratin gene overexpressions in these cells are due to the absence of SLUG. Inducible expression of SLUG in MDA-MB-468 cells inhibited the expressions of the cytokeratin 8 and 19 but not others as was revealed by microarray analysis. Similarly, siRNA knock down of SLUG in BT-549 cells increased the expressions of those cytokeratin mRNAs. SLUG levels in the cell regulated the function of cytokeratins 8 and 19 gene promoters. We conclude that the expressions of cytokeratins and metallothioneins may be associated with the differential invasive behaviors of these breast tumor cells and SLUG may have regulatory roles in this process.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Keratins / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • Repressor Proteins
  • SNAI1 protein, human
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Transcription Factors
  • Keratins