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Resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs is a significant clinical problem in the treatment of cancer and this resistance has been linked to the cellular expression of multidrug-efflux transporters. The aim of this study was to explore the role of HOXC6 in the regulation of multidrug resistance (MDR) to chemotherapeutic drugs. The HOXC6 gene was identified as being overexpressed in drug-resistant cells compared with parental cell lines. Transfection assays demonstrated that HOXC6 activated MDR-1 promoter activity. A series of MDR-1 promoter deletion mutants was examined and the minimal HOXC6-responsive region was identified to be in the TAAT motif (-2243 bp) of the MDR-1 promoter. Interestingly, overexpression of HOXC6 in the parental cell lines resulted in the upregulation of MDR-1 expression. The inhibition of HOXC6 using small interfering RNA led to the repression of MDR-1. We determined that knockdown of HOXC6 expression in MDR cells increased their sensitivity to paclitaxel. Flow cytometry analysis suggested that siHOXC6 could induce paclitaxel-induced apoptosis and that this was accompanied by an increased accumulation and a decreased release of paclitaxel. Taken together, our findings suggest that HOXC6 expression is an important mechanism of chemotherapeutic drug resistance via its regulation of MDR-1.


K-J Kim, S-M Moon, S-A Kim, K-W Kang, J-H Yoon, S-G Ahn. Transcriptional regulation of MDR-1 by HOXC6 in multidrug-resistant cells. Oncogene. 2013 Jul 11;32(28):3339-49

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PMID: 22907429

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