Through a differential screening technique, we have identified a cDNA clone with differential expression in normal versus tumor cells. This clone, designated rit42 (reduced in tumor, 42 kDa), was previously isolated as a homocysteine-inducible gene in human endothelial cells (RTP), and the same or a highly related androgen-responsive gene in mouse has also been identified. Both Northern blot analysis and in situ hybridization demonstrated a significantly diminished expression in tumor cells, including those derived from breast and prostate when compared with normal cells. It was shown that RTP/rit42 mRNA cycles with cell division, peaking at G1 and G2-M, with lower expression in S phase. The biphasic expression of RTP/rit42 mRNA was absent in tumor cells. Introduction of rit42 cDNA into human cancer cells reduced cell growth both in vitro and in nude mice. Moreover, analysis of a tetracycline-regulated p53-inducible system in null-p53 cell lines showed that RTP/rit42 mRNA expression increased concomitantly with p53 expression and followed a similar time course. In addition, DNA-damaging agents induced RTP/rit42 expression in a p53-dependent manner but independent of a p53-mediated G1 arrest. Immunofluorescence analysis of a FLAG epitope-tagged RTP/rit42 protein revealed a cytoplasmic localization pattern with redistribution to the nucleus upon DNA damage. We have localized RTP/rit42 to human chromosome 8q24.3. Taken together, these results are consistent with a growth inhibitory role for RTP/rit42, and its down-regulation may contribute to the tumor malignant phenotype.


This project was supported by NIH Grants CA66271-01 and AG13314-01 and a breast cancer initiative grant from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. S. K. K. is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Student Research Training Fellow. M. M. S. was supported by the Child Health Research Center at Mount Sinai Medical School, New York (NIH Grant P30HD28822), an American Society of Clinical Oncology Young Investigator Award, and The Mary Putnam Jacobi Fellowship.

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