ETS-Domain Transcription Factor Elk-1 Regulates Stemness Genes in Brain Tumors and CD133+ BrainTumor-Initiating Cells Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Elk-1, a member of the ternary complex factors (TCFs) within the ETS (E26 transformation-specific) domain superfamily, is a transcription factor implicated in neuroprotection, neurodegeneration, and brain tumor proliferation. Except for known targets, c-fos and egr-1, few targets of Elk-1 have been identified. Interestingly, SMN, SOD1, and PSEN1 promoters were shown to be regulated by Elk-1. On the other hand, Elk-1 was shown to regulate the CD133 gene, which is highly expressed in brain-tumor-initiating cells (BTICs) and used as a marker for separating this cancer stem cell population. In this study, we have carried out microarray analysis in SH-SY5Y cells overexpressing Elk-1-VP16, which has revealed a large number of genes significantly regulated by Elk-1 that function in nervous system development, embryonic development, pluripotency, apoptosis, survival, and proliferation. Among these, we have shown that genes related to pluripotency, such as Sox2, Nanog, and Oct4, were indeed regulated by Elk-1, and in the context of brain tumors, we further showed that Elk-1 overexpression in CD133+ BTIC population results in the upregulation of these genes. When Elk-1 expression is silenced, the expression of these stemness genes is decreased. We propose that Elk-1 is a transcription factor upstream of these genes, regulating the self-renewal of CD133+ BTICs.


  • Sogut, Melis Savasan
  • Venugopal, Chitra
  • Kandemir, Basak
  • Dag, Ugur
  • Mahendram, Sujeivan
  • Singh, Sheila
  • Gulfidan, Gizem
  • Arga, Kazim Yalcin
  • Yilmaz, Bayram
  • Kurnaz, Isil Aksan

publication date

  • February 14, 2021