3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a major in vivo condensation product of indole-3-carbinol, which is present in cruciferous vegetables. Although these compounds have been widely implicated in antitumorigenic and proapoptotic properties in animal as well as in vitro models of cancer, the underlying cellular mechanisms regulated by DIM are only partially understood. Activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3) is a member of the ATF/c-AMP response element-binding (CREB) subfamily of the basic-region leucine zipper family and has been known to induce apoptosis in human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells. The present study was performed to elucidate the molecular mechanism of ATF3 induction by DIM in human CRC cells. The DIM treatment induced apoptosis and induced ATF3 gene expression at protein and messenger RNA levels. DIM increased ATF3 promoter activity, and the region of -84 to +34 within ATF3 promoter was responsible for promoter activation by DIM. This region contained an ATF binding site. Deletion and point mutation of the ATF binding site (-23 to -16) abolished ATF3 promoter activation by DIM, and overexpression of ATF4 enhanced ATF3 transactivation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed the binding of ATF4 in the ATF3 promoter. Inhibition of ATF4 expression by small interference RNA results in repression of DIM-induced ATF3 expression. The current study demonstrates that DIM stimulates ATF3 expression through ATF4-mediated pathway and subsequently induces apoptosis in human CRC cells.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/seung_baek/41/