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Inverse regulation of oestrogen receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor gene expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells treated with phorbol ester


In human breast cancer cell lines, an inverse relationship exists between the basal levels of oestrogen receptor (ER) and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) gene expression. In addition, the tumour-promoting phorbol ester 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) inhibits ER and stimulates EGF-R expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells. This study aimed to define further the potential mechanisms involved in the modulation of ER and EGF-R gene expression by TPA. ER mRNA levels were reduced after 3 h and declined to 30% of control between 12 and 72 h after exposure to 10 nM TPA. This decrease in mRNA levels was preceded by an apparent fall in ER transcription rate. There was no effect on the stability of ER mRNA following pretreatment for 3-24 h with TPA, supporting the conclusion that the fall in ER mRNA levels was predominantly due to a decrease in ER transcription rate. Levels of EGF-R mRNA increased 10-fold by 12 h due predominantly to an increased transcription rate. The TPA-induced decrease in ER mRNA was unaffected by the simultaneous administration of the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide, whereas the increase in EGF-R mRNA was inhibited by co-incubation with cycloheximide. These data indicate a requirement for continuing protein synthesis for the TPA effect on EGF-R but not on ER mRNA levels. Because the modulation of ER and EGF-R gene expression by TPA is likely to involve the protein kinase C (PKC) signal transduction pathway, the effects of other known activators of PKC were investigated. The non-phorboid tumour promoter mezerein modulated ER (an 80% decrease) and EGF-R (a 20-fold increase) mRNA levels in a similar manner to TPA. In contrast, neither 1,2-dioctanoyl-sn-glycerol (DiC8) nor 1-oleoyl-2-acetyl-sn-glycerol (OAG), both permeant analogues of the endogenous physiological activators of PKC, affected ER and EGF-R mRNA levels. These latter results were not due to a lack of efficacy because a single administration of DiC8 was as effective as TPA in inducing c-fos mRNA at 30 min. However DiC8 was less active in the later induction of c-myc mRNA. These data demonstrate reciprocal regulation of ER and EGF-R gene expression by TPA, involving effects on transcriptional events, which appear to be mediated by sustained activation of PKC.

Type Journal
ISBN 0960-0760 (Print)
Authors Lee, C. S.;deFazio, A.;Ormandy, C. J.;Sutherland, R. L. :
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Chris Ormandy
Published Date 1996-01-01
Published Volume 58
Published Issue 3
Published Pages 267-75
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version
OpenAccess link to author's accepted manuscript version