2022 Volume 45 Issue 6 Pages 793-797
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor that mediates the toxicity of dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Recent studies have suggested that AhR is involved in cancer immunity. In the present study, we examined whether AhR regulates the expression of immune checkpoint genes in breast cancer cells. We discovered that the mRNA expression of V-set domain containing T cell activation inhibitor 1 (VTCN1) that negatively regulates T cell immunity was upregulated by AhR agonists in breast cancer cell lines, MCF-7 and T47D. Furthermore, AhR knockout or knockdown experiments clearly demonstrated that upregulation of VTCN1 gene expression by 3-methylcholanthrene was AhR dependent. Luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that this upregulation of VTCN1 gene expression was induced by the recruitment of AhR to the AhR responsive element in the VTCN1 gene promoter in MCF-7 cells. Taken together, AhR directly regulates VTCN1 gene expression in MCF-7 cells.