Fol. Biol. 2023, 69, 81-90

Homeobox Protein PROX1 Expression is Negatively Regulated by Histone Deacetylase 1 and c-JUN Complex in MDA-MB-231 Human Breast Cancer Cells

Munki Jeong, Euitaek Jung, Sukjin Oh, Soon Young Shin

Department of Biological Sciences, Sanghuh College of Life Sciences, Konkuk University, Seoul 05029, Republic of Korea

Received July 2022
Accepted October 2023

Prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) is a member of the homeobox transcription factor family that plays a critical role in the development of multiple tissues and specification of cell fate. PROX1 expression is differentially regulated based on the cellular context and plays an antagonistic role as a tumour promoter or suppressor in different tumour types. In human breast cancer, PROX1 expression is suppress­ed; however, the molecular mechanism by which it is down-regulated remains poorly understood. Here, we show that ectopic expression of PROX1 reduces the motility and invasiveness of MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells, suggesting that PROX1 functions as a negative regulator of tumour invasion in MDA-MB-231 cells. Treatment with histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors up-regulates PROX1 mRNA and protein expression levels. Knockdown of HDAC1 using short hairpin RNA also up-regulates PROX1 mRNA and protein expression levels. We found that HDAC1 interacted with c-JUN at the activator protein (AP)-1-binding site located at –734 to –710 in the PROX1 promoter region to suppress PROX1 expression. In addition, c-JUN N-terminal kinase-mediated c-JUN phosphorylation was found to be crucial for silencing PROX1 expression. In conclusion, PROX1 expression can be silenced by the epigenetic mechanism involved in the complex formation of HDAC1 and c-JUN at the AP-1 site in the PROX1 promoter region in MDA-MB-231 human breast cancer cells. Therefore, this study revealed the epigenetic regulatory mechanism involved in the suppression of PROX1 expression in breast cancer cells.


AP-1, c-JUN, HDAC1, MDA-MB-231, PROX1.


This study was supported by a National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT (2023R1A2C1003601) and by the KU Research Professor Program of the Konkuk University.


36 live references