Endocrine Abstracts (2002) 4 P60

Modulation of Estrogen Receptor function- the role of co-regulatory proteins

FJ Fleming, ADK Hill, EW Mc Dermott, N O'Higgins & LS Young

Department of Surgery, St Vincents University Hospital and Conway Institute of Biomolecular and Biomedical Research, University College Dublin, Ireland.

ER-alpha and ER-beta function as transcription factors to modulate expression of target genes. Both interact with nuclear regulatory proteins to enhance or inhibit transcription. We hypothesized that these co-regulators are expressed in breast cancer tissue and may be differentially regulated by estrogen and tamoxifen.

ER-alpha, ER-beta, the co-activator SRC-1, and the co-repressor SMRT were localized within breast tissue by immunohistochemistry, and the spatial co-expression assessed by immunofluoresence. The ability of beta-estradiol and 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-HOT) to modulate the protein of ER-alpha, ER-beta, SRC-1, and SMRT in primary cell cultures, and MCF-7 and T47-D cell lines was assessed by western blotting.

ER-alpha and ER-beta were found to be co-expressed with the co-regulators SRC-1 and SMRT in the nuclei of breast cancer epithelial cells. Partial and complete response elements for the ER were identified on the promotor region of ER-alpha, ER-beta, SRC-1 and SMRT. Beta-estradiol induced an upregulation in the protein expression of both Estrogen receptors and the co-regulator proteins. Furthermore, beta-estradiol induced a translocation of ER-alpha from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. 4-HOT induced an increase in the expression of ER-alpha and the repressor protein SMRT, whereas it decreased the protein expression of ER-beta and the activator protein SRC-1.

Co-localisation of the co-regulators SRC-1 and SMRT with ER-alpha and ER-beta in human breast tissue and the regulation of ER-alpha, ER-beta, SRC-1 and SMRT by beta-estradiol and 4-HOT provides evidence that co-regulators and ER function together to modulate target gene transcription in breast cancer.

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