The Oct1 transcription factor and epithelial malignancies: Old protein learns new tricks

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2016 Jun;1859(6):792-804. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


The metazoan-specific POU domain transcription factor family comprises activities underpinning developmental processes such as embryonic pluripotency and neuronal specification. Some POU family proteins efficiently bind an 8-bp DNA element known as the octamer motif. These proteins are known as Oct transcription factors. Oct1/POU2F1 is the only widely expressed POU factor. Unlike other POU factors it controls no specific developmental or organ system. Oct1 was originally described to operate at target genes associated with proliferation and immune modulation, but more recent results additionally identify targets associated with oxidative and cytotoxic stress resistance, metabolic regulation, stem cell function and other unexpected processes. Oct1 is pro-oncogenic in multiple contexts, and several recent reports provide broad evidence that Oct1 has prognostic and therapeutic value in multiple epithelial tumor settings. This review focuses on established and emerging roles of Oct1 in epithelial tumors, with an emphasis on mechanisms of transcription regulation by Oct1 that may underpin these findings. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: The Oct Transcription Factor Family, edited by Dr. Dean Tantin.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Cervical cancer; Colorectal cancer; Gastric cancer; Jmjd1a/KDM3A; Lung adenocarcinoma; NuRD; Oct1/POU2F1; Prostate cancer; Thyroid cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics*
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / genetics
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases / metabolism
  • Mi-2 Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylase Complex / genetics
  • Mi-2 Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylase Complex / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / genetics*
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / metabolism
  • Neoplasms, Glandular and Epithelial / pathology
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-1 / genetics*
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-1 / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction


  • Histones
  • Octamer Transcription Factor-1
  • POU2F1 protein, human
  • Jumonji Domain-Containing Histone Demethylases
  • KDM3A protein, human
  • Mi-2 Nucleosome Remodeling and Deacetylase Complex