MAZ drives tumor-specific expression of PPAR gamma 1 in breast cancer cells

Breast Cancer Res Treat. 2008 Sep;111(1):103-11. doi: 10.1007/s10549-007-9765-7. Epub 2007 Sep 28.


The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma 1 (PPARgamma1) is a nuclear receptor that plays a pivotal role in breast cancer and is highly over-expressed relative to normal epithelia. We have previously reported that the expression of PPARgamma1 is mediated by at least six distinct promoters and expression in breast cancer is driven by a tumor-specific promoter (pA1). Deletional analysis of this promoter fragment revealed that the GC-rich, 263 bp sequence proximal to the start of exon A1, is sufficient to drive expression in breast cancer cells but not in normal, human mammary epithelial cells (HMEC). By combining the disparate technologies of microarray and computer-based transcription factor binding site analyses on this promoter sequence the myc-associated zinc finger protein (MAZ) was identified as a candidate transcription factor mediating tumor-specific expression. Western blot analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays verify that MAZ is overexpressed in MCF-7 cells and is capable of binding to the 263 bp promoter fragment, respectively. Furthermore, the over-expression of MAZ in HMEC is sufficient to drive the expression of PPARgamma1 and does so by recruiting the tumor-specific promoter. This results in an increase in the amount of PPARgamma1 capable of binding to its DNA response element. These findings help to define the molecular mechanism driving the high expression of PPARgamma1 in breast cancer and raise new questions regarding the role of MAZ in cancer progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Western
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • PPAR gamma / biosynthesis*
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • Plasmids
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transfection


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • PPAR gamma
  • Transcription Factors
  • c-MYC-associated zinc finger protein