Inhibition of lung cancer cell growth and induction of apoptosis after reexpression of 3p21.3 candidate tumor suppressor gene SEMA3B

Yoshio Tomizawa, Yoshitaka Sekido, Masashi Kondo, Boning Gao, Jun Yokota, Joëlle Roche, Harry Drabkin, Michael I. Lerman, Adi F. Gazdar, John D. Minna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

200 Scopus citations


Semaphorins SEMA3B and its homologue SEMA3F are 3p21.3 candidate tumor suppressor genes (TSGs), the expression of which is frequently lost in lung cancers. To test the TSG candidacy of SEMA3B and SEMA3F, we transfected them into lung cancer NCI-H1299 cells, which do not express either gene. Colony formation of H1299 cells was reduced 90% after transfection with wild-type SEMA3B compared with the control vector. By contrast, only 30-40% reduction in colony formation was seen after the transfection of SEMA3F or SEMA3B variants carrying lung cancer-associated single amino acid missense mutations. H1299 cells transfected with wild-type but not mutant SEMA3B underwent apoptosis. We found that lung cancers (n = 34) always express the neuropilin-1 receptor for secreted semaphorins, whereas 82% expressed the neuropilin-2 receptor. Because SEMA3B and SEMA3F are secreted proteins, we tested conditioned medium from COS-7 cells transfected with SEMA3B and SEMA3F and found that medium from wild-type SEMA3B transfectants reduced the growth of several lung cancer lines 30-90%, whereas SEMA3B mutants or SEMA3F had little effect in the same assay. Sequencing of sodium bisulfite-treated DNA showed dense methylation of CpG sites in the SEMA3B 5′ region of lung cancers not expressing SEMA3B but no methylation in SEMA3B-expressing tumors. These results are consistent with SEMA3B functioning as a TSG, the expression of which is inactivated frequently in lung cancers by allele loss and promoter region methylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13954-13959
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Nov 20 2001


  • Methylation
  • Neuropilin
  • Semaphorin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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