Targeting Id protein interactions by an engineered HLH domain induces human neuroblastoma cell differentiation

R. Ciarapica, D. Annibali, L. Raimondi, M. Savino, S. Nasi, R. Rota

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inhibitor of DNA-binding (Id) proteins prevent cell differentiation, promote growth and sustain tumour development. They do so by binding to E proteins and other transcription factors through the helix-loop-helix (HLH) domain, and inhibiting transcription. This makes HLH-mediated Id protein interactions an appealing therapeutic target. We have used the dominant interfering HLH dimerization mutant 13I to model the impact of Id inhibition in two human neuroblastoma cell lines: LA-N-5, similar to immature neuroblasts, and SH-EP, resembling more immature precursor cells. We have validated 13I as an Id inhibitor by showing that it selectively binds to Ids, impairs complex formation with RB, and relieves repression of E protein-activated transcription. Id inactivation by 13I enhances LA-N-5 neural features and causes SH-EP cells to acquire neuronal morphology, express neuronal proteins such as N-CAM and NF-160, proliferate more slowly, and become responsive to retinoic acid. Concomitantly, 13I augments the cell-cycle inhibitor p27Kip1 and reduces the angiogenic factor vascular endothelial growth factor. These effects are Id specific, being counteracted by Id overexpression. Furthermore, 13I strongly impairs tumorigenic properties in agar colony formation and cell invasion assays. Targeting Id dimerization may therefore be effective for triggering differentiation and restraining neuroblastoma cell tumorigenicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1881-1891
Number of pages11
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - Apr 30 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Research
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Targeting Id protein interactions by an engineered HLH domain induces human neuroblastoma cell differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this