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David M. Kaetzel


Metastasis is the spread of cancer cells from the primary tumor to distant sites. It is the most dangerous attribute of cancer, and also the principle cause of cancerrelated morbidity and mortality. Metastasis suppressor genes are a group of genes that suppress tumor metastasis without significant effect on tumorigenicity. NM23 was the first identified metastasis suppressor gene, and loss of its expression is a frequent hallmark of metastatic growth in multiple cancers (e.g. melanoma, carcinomas of breast, stomach and liver). NM23-H1 possesses at least three enzymatic activities, including nucleoside diphosphate kinase (NDPK), histidine kinase (hisK), and a more recently described 3f-5f exonuclease (EXO). While the hisK has been shown to be linked to the suppression of cell motility, the NDPK has been reported to be unrelated to the suppression of metastatic potential indirectly. Relevance of EXO has not been addressed. Other known 3f-5f exonuclease are closely associated with DNA repair functions, suggesting NM23-H1 may suppress mutations required for metastasis. As a transcription factor, NM23 has been shown to modestly downregulate the transcription on PDGF-A chain, a growth factor oncogene, either alone or in association with another transcriptional factor, Pur@. At the same time, identification of NM23-H1 as a 3f-5fexonuclease suggests the role of NM23-H1 in DNA repair. Etoposide and cisplatin elicited nuclear translocation of H1 within 4 h in HeLa and HepG2 cells, seen as accumulation of H1 in small intranuclear foci, strongly suggesting the DNA repair function of H1. To investigate the enzymatic function contributing to metastasis suppressor activity of H1, complementation system was used by transfecting NM23-H1 with individually disrupted enzymatic function into 2 melanoma cell lines, 1205LU and WM793. Overexpression of H1 in 1205LU suppressed lung metastasis in vivo without effect on indices of transformation (e.g. proliferation, soft agar colonization). EXO- deficient H1 and NDPK-deficient H1 lost suppression of lung metastasis, while hisK-deficient H1 maintained suppressor activity. Consistent with the results in 1205LU cells, EXO-deficient H1 and NDPKdeficient H1 lost suppression of the progression of WM793 cells in protein-free medium, while WT and hisK-deficient H1 prevented the progression. Taken together, these data suggest that the NDPK and/or 3f-5fEXO activity of H1 inhibits the progression of premetastatic cells to the metastatic phenotype, possibly via a DNA repair function or other structural transactions with DNA.



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