The HPV-activating Cellular Transcription Factor Brn-3a is Overexpressed in CIN3 Cervical Lesions

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The cervical cellular transcription factors Brn-3a and Brn-3b have antagonistic effects on transcription of the human papilloma virus types 16 and 18 E6 and E7 oncogenes, with Brn-3a activating expression and Brn-3b repressing it. We therefore measured expression of Brn-3a and Brn-3b mRNAs in biopsies from 16 women with no detectable cervical abnormality, and in 14 women with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 3 (CIN3) lesions. Although the mean level of Brn-3b expression was similar in both groups, the mean level of Brn-3a expression was over 300-fold higher in the CIN3 samples when compared with normals. Elevated expression of Brn-3a was also detected in 16 histologically normal regions of the cervix adjacent to the CIN3 lesions, indicating that elevation of Brn-3a levels is not confined to the lesion in women with CIN3, and is thus not a consequence of the oncogenic process. The elevated levels of Brn-3a in the CIN3 patient samples, together with the activating effect of Brn-3a on HPV-16 and -18 oncogene expression, suggest that induction of this factor is involved in activating HPV-16 and -18 oncogene expression in the cervix, and hence in the production of cervical cancers induced by HPV. (J. Clin. Invest. 1998. 101:1687-1692.)

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