MGMT DNA repair gene promoter/enhancer haplotypes alter transcription factor binding and gene expression

Meixiang Xu, Courtney E. Cross, Jordan T. Speidel, Sherif Z. Abdel-Rahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: The O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) protein removes O6-alkyl-guanine adducts from DNA. MGMT expression can thus alter the sensitivity of cells and tissues to environmental and chemotherapeutic alkylating agents. Previously, we defined the haplotype structure encompassing single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the MGMT promoter/enhancer (P/E) region and found that haplotypes, rather than individual SNPs, alter MGMT promoter activity. The exact mechanism(s) by which these haplotypes exert their effect on MGMT promoter activity is currently unknown, but we noted that many of the SNPs comprising the MGMT P/E haplotypes are located within or in close proximity to putative transcription factor binding sites. Thus, these haplotypes could potentially affect transcription factor binding and, subsequently, alter MGMT promoter activity. Methods: In this study, we test the hypothesis that MGMT P/E haplotypes affect MGMT promoter activity by altering transcription factor (TF) binding to the P/E region. We used a promoter binding TF profiling array and a reporter assay to evaluate the effect of different P/E haplotypes on TF binding and MGMT expression, respectively. Results: Our data revealed a significant difference in TF binding profiles between the different haplotypes evaluated. We identified TFs that consistently showed significant haplotype-dependent binding alterations (p ≤ 0.01) and revealed their role in regulating MGMT expression using siRNAs and a dual-luciferase reporter assay system. Conclusions: The data generated support our hypothesis that promoter haplotypes alter the binding of TFs to the MGMT P/E and, subsequently, affect their regulatory function on MGMT promoter activity and expression level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)435-447
Number of pages13
JournalCellular Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • MGMT P/E haplotypes
  • Promoter activity
  • Transcription factor binding
  • siRNA regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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