Cancer testis antigens (CTAs) are proteins that are normally expressed only in male germ cells and are aberrantly upregulated in a variety of cancers such as melanomas and lung cancer. MAGEA proteins belong to Class I CTAs and are being utilized as targets for cancer immunotherapy. Despite the discovery of the first CTA (MAGEA1) 20 years ago, the functions of these proteins remain poorly understood and evidence suggests both oncogenic as well as tumor suppressive roles for these proteins. Herein, we investigated the role of MAGEA4 in promoting cell growth. When overexpressed, MAGEA4 promotes growth of spontaneously transformed normal oral keratinocytes (NOK-SI). To understand the mechanism of growth stimulation by MAGEA4, we explored the effect of overexpressing MAGEA4 on cell cycle and apoptosis. MAGEA4 inhibits growth arrest of cells in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. We also found that overexpression of MAGEA4 inhibits G418-induced apoptosis of NOK-SI cells. Interestingly, this inhibition was accompanied by repression of two p53 downstream genes, BAX and CDKN1A. Our results indicate that MAGEA4 promotes growth by preventing cell cycle arrest and by inhibiting apoptosis mediated by the p53 transcriptional targets.
- Cancer testis antigens
- Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research