Truncated forms of RUNX3 Unlike Full Length Protein Alter Cell Proliferation in a TGF-β Context Dependent Manner

The Runt related transcription factors (RUNX) are recognized as key players in suppressing or promoting tumor growth. RUNX3, a member of this family, is known as a tumor suppressor in many types of cancers, although such a paradigm was challenged by some researchers. The TGF-β pathway governs major upstream signals to activate RUNX3. RUNX3 protein consists of several regions and domains. The Runt domain is a conserved DNA binding domain and is considered as the main part of RUNX proteins. Herein, we compared the effects of Runt domains and full-Runx3 in cell viability by designing two constructs of Runx3, including N-terminal region and Runt domain. We investigated the effect of full-Runx3, N-t, and RD on growth inhibition in AGS, MCF-7, A549, and HEK293 cell lines which are different in TGF-β sensitivity, in the absence and presence of TGF-β. The full length RUNX3 did not notably inhibit growth of these cell lines while, the N-t and RD truncates showed different trends in these cell lines. Cell proliferation in the TGF-β impaired context cell lines (AGS and MCF-7) significantly decrease while in the A549 significantly increase. On the other hand, transfection of N-t and RD did not considerably affect the cell proliferation in the HEK293.Our results show that full-lenght RUNX3 did not affect the cell viability. Conversely, the N-t and RD constructs significantly changed cell proliferation. Therefore, therapeutic potentials for these truncated proteins are suggested in tumors with RUNX proteins dysfunction, even in the TGF-β impair context.