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Esophageal cancer-related gene 4 at the interface of injury, inflammation, infection, and malignancy

Authors Baird A, Lee J, Podvin S, Kurabi A, Dang X, Coimbra R, Costantini T, Bansal V, Eliceiri BP

Received 22 July 2014

Accepted for publication 28 August 2014

Published 24 October 2014 Volume 2014:4 Pages 131—142

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/GICTT.S49085

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Eileen O'Reilly


Andrew Baird, Jisook Lee, Sonia Podvin, Arwa Kurabi, Xitong Dang, Raul Coimbra, Todd Costantini, Vishal Bansal, Brian P Eliceiri

Division of Trauma, Burn, and Acute Critical Care, Department of Surgery, University of California San Diego Health Sciences, San Diego, CA, USA

Abstract: In humans, esophageal cancer-related gene 4 (ECRG4) is encoded by four exons in the c2orf40 locus of chromosome 2. Translation of ECRG4 messenger ribonucleic acid produces a 148 amino acid-secreted 17 KDa protein that is then processed to 14, ten, eight, six, four, and two KDa peptides, depending on the cell in which the gene is expressed. As hypermethylation at the c2orf40 locus inhibits ECRG4 gene expression in many epithelial cancers, several investigators have speculated that ECRG4 is a candidate tumor suppressor. Indeed, overexpression of ECRG4 inhibits cell proliferation in vitro, but it also has a wide range of effects in vivo beyond its antitumor activity. ECRG4 overexpression affects apoptosis, senescence, cell migration, inflammation, injury, and infection responsiveness. ECRG4 activities also depend on its cellular localization, secretion, and post-translational processing. These cytokine/chemokine-like characteristics argue that ECRG4 is not a traditional candidate tumor suppressor gene, as originally predicted by its downregulation in cancer. We review how insights into the regulation of ECRG4 gene expression, knowledge of its primary structure, and the study of its emerging physiological functions come together to support a much more complex role for ECRG4 at the interface of inflammation, infection, and malignancy.

Keywords: ECRG4, c2orf40, tumor suppressor, cytokine, chemokine, growth inhibitor

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