The N-terminal of the estrogen receptor (ERalpha) mediates transcriptional cross-talk with the retinoic acid receptor in human breast cancer cells.

Transcriptional cross-talk exists between the estrogen receptor (ERalpha) and retinoic acid receptor (RAR) pathways in human breast cancer cells. We have previously shown that re-expression of ERalpha in ER-negative cells stimulates the transcriptional and growth inhibitory effects of all-trans-retinoic acid (tRA) by a mechanism that is independent of the ER ligands estradiol and tamoxifen. In this study, we generated cell lines stably expressing ERalpha-deletion mutants to elucidate the mechanism whereby ERalpha modulates RAR transcriptional activity. Using RT-PCR and RNAse protection assays, we observed that expression of ERalpha suppresses basal expression of the RA-responsive gene RARbeta2, while allowing it to be strongly induced by tRA. Repression of basal RARbeta2 transcription was confirmed by transient expression of the reporter plasmid betaRE-tk-CAT, containing the RARbeta2 promoter. In the ERalpha-negative cells, on the other hand, transcription was only weakly induced by RA. We further determined that this effect of ERalpha on RARbeta induction required the N-terminal AF-1-containing region, including the DNA-binding domain, but was independent of the C-terminal ligand-binding domain. Consistent with these results, the ER agonist estradiol and the AF-2 antagonist 4-hydroxytamoxifen had no significant effect on betaRARE activity. Conversely, the full ER antagonist ICI 182,780, which blocks ERalpha AF-1 activity, was able to completely relieve repression of basal betaRARE activity. The effect of ERalpha is specific for RAR-mediated transcription and does not occur on promoters containing typical response elements for the Vitamin D or thyroid hormone receptors. Moreover, the cross-talk between ERalpha and RAR does not seem to be mediated by sequestration of a number of common co-regulators, suggesting a novel mechanism whereby the N-terminal region of ERalpha modulates the transcriptional activity of RAR.

Date de publication
1er juillet 2003
Rousseau C, Pettersson F, Couture MC, Paquin A, Galipeau J, Mader S, Miller WH
Référence PubMed
J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. 2003;86(1):1-14
ID PubMed
Departments of Oncology and Medicine, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, SMBD-Jewish General Hospital (McGill University), 3755 Cote Ste Catherine Road, Que., H3T 1E2, Montreal, Canada.