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A Stoica, M Saceda, VL Doraiswamy, C Coleman and MB Martin

The role of epidermal growth factor (EGF) in the regulation of estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-alpha) gene expression in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7 was investigated. Treatment of cells with 0.4 ng/ml EGF resulted in an approximately 60% decrease in ER-alpha protein concentration by 6 h and the amount of receptor remained suppressed for 24 h. Ligand binding assays demonstrated that the decrease in ER-alpha protein corresponded to a similar decrease (approximately 50%) in estradiol binding sites. Although EGF treatment resulted in a decrease in the number of binding sites, it had no effect on the binding affinity of ER-alpha. The dissociation constant of the estradiol-ER-alpha complex in the presence or absence of EGF was the same (K(d)=2.3x10(-)(10) M in control cells versus K(d)=1.98x10(-)(10) M in EGF-treated cells). The decrease in ER-alpha protein concentration paralleled a decrease in the steady-state amount of ER-alpha mRNA. By 9 h there was an approximately 60% decrease in ER-alpha mRNA. The amount of ER-alpha mRNA remained suppressed for 48 h. Transcription run-on experiments demonstrated that there was a decrease of approximately 70% in ER-alpha gene transcription upon EGF treatment, suggesting that the mechanism by which EGF regulates ER-alpha gene expression is transcriptional. In addition to regulating the amount of ER-alpha, EGF affected the activity of the receptor. At high concentrations, EGF induced progesterone receptor. Estradiol and high concentrations of EGF had an additive effect on progesterone receptor. In contrast to high concentrations, low concentrations of EGF had no effect on progesterone receptor and blocked estradiol induction. The effects of EGF on ER-alpha expression were inhibited by tyrophostins and wortmannin, suggesting that the effects of the growth factor are mediated by the EGF receptor and protein kinase B. When the cells were placed in serum-free medium and then treated with EGF, there was no effect on ER-alpha protein concentration or activity. However, increasing concentrations of serum restored the effects of EGF on ER-alpha, suggesting that an additional serum factor was required for the EGF-mediated effect on the decrease in ER-alpha protein concentration.

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SV Angeloni, MB Martin, P Garcia-Morales, MD Castro-Galache, JA Ferragut and M Saceda

The results presented here demonstrate that p53 upregulates estrogen receptor-alpha (ER alpha) expression in the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. Two approaches were used to alter the activity of p53 in the cells. In the first approach, stable transfectants expressing an antisense p53 were established. In the stable clones, expression of antisense p53 resulted in a decrease in the expression of ER alpha protein. In the second approach, MCF-7 cells were transiently transfected with wild-type p53. Overexpression of p53 increased the amount of ER alpha. To determine whether the effects of p53 on the expression of ER alpha were due to changes in transcription, deletion mutants of the ER alpha promoter were used. This experimental approach demonstrated that p53 up-regulates ER alpha gene expression by increasing transcription of the gene through elements located upstream of promoter A. Transfection assays using p53 mutants further demonstrated that the p53-induced increase in ER alpha gene transcription was not dependent on the ability of p53 to bind to DNA but on its ability to interact with other proteins.

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MB Martin, SV Angeloni, P Garcia-Morales, PF Sholler, MD Castro-Galache, JA Ferragut and M Saceda

Results presented in this study demonstrate that treatment of MCF-7 cells with taxol resulted in induction of estrogen receptor-alpha (ER alpha) gene transcription with a subsequent increase in ER alpha mRNA; this effect was promoter specific since taxol did not affect total transcription in MCF-7 cells and lacked an effect on transcription of the human acidic ribosomal phosphoprotein protein PO, progesterone receptor, and pS2 genes. In contrast to the increase in transcription of the ER alpha gene, taxol inhibited translation of the ER alpha mRNA. This effect is also transcript specific since taxol did not alter total protein synthesis and did not affect the concentration of progesterone receptor protein in the cell. The overall result of taxol treatment was to decrease the concentration of ER alpha protein in the MCF-7 cells. Evidence is presented that the effects of taxol on ER alpha gene transcription may be mediated through the induction of p53.