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C Vyhlidal, X Li, and S Safe

Transferrin (Tf) is an iron transport protein expressed in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. In nuclear run-on assays, 17beta-estradiol (E2) increased the rate of Tf gene expression approximately 3-fold within 1 h after treatment and reporter gene activity was also induced in MCF-7 cells transfected with a construct containing a -3600 to +39 Tf gene promoter insert. Deletion and mutation analysis identified an E2-responsive promoter region between -811 and -762, which was GC-rich (80%) and contained two nonconsensus estrogen response elements (EREs). E2-responsiveness of this region was associated with a GGACA(N)(3)TGGCC motif (-803 to -791) which bound human estrogen receptor alpha (hERalpha) in gel mobility shift assays. In Drosophila Schneider SL-2 cells, the -811 to -752 was E2-responsive after cotransfection with hERalpha expression plasmid plus E2, whereas Sp1 protein did not induce transactivation. These studies confirm that E2 induces Tf gene expression through a nonconsensus distal ERE.

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W Xie, R Duan, and S Safe

Adenosine deaminase (ADA) regulates cellular levels of adenosine and deoxyadenosine, and 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) induces ADA mRNA in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. IGF-I also induces ADA gene expression in these cells, and induction of this response through IGF activation of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) was further investigated. IGF and other polypeptide growth factors induce reporter gene expression in MCF-7 cells cotransfected with ERalpha expression plasmid and pADA211, a construct containing the -211 to +11 region of the ADA gene promoter which is required for high basal and E(2)-inducible activity. Deletion analysis of this promoter demonstrates that IGF activates ERalpha/Sp1 interactions with multiple GC-rich sites in the promoter and this response is abrogated in cells transfected with ERalpha containing mutations at Ser(118) or Ser(163). IGF induces both MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and PI3-K (phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase) phosphorylation cascades in MCF-7 cells; however, using a series of inhibitors and dominant negative constructs, our results show that induction of ADA by IGF activation of ERalpha/Sp1 is dependent on the MAPK signaling pathway.

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C Vyhlidal, I Samudio, MP Kladde, and S Safe

17beta-Estradiol (E2) induces transforming growth factor alpha (TGFalpha) gene expression in MCF-7 cells and previous studies have identified a 53 bp (-252 to -200) sequence containing two imperfect estrogen responsive elements (EREs) that contribute to E2 responsiveness. Deletion analysis of the TGFalpha gene promoter in this study identified a second upstream region of the promoter (-623 to -549) that is also E2 responsive. This sequence contains three GC-rich sites and an imperfect ERE half-site, and the specific cis-elements and trans-acting factors were determined by promoter analysis in transient transfection experiments, gel mobility shift assays and in vitro DNA footprinting. The results are consistent with an estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)/Sp1 complex interacting with an Sp1(N)(30) ERE half-site ((1/2)) motif in which both ERalpha and Sp1 bind promoter DNA. The ER/Sp1-DNA complex is formed using nuclear extracts from MCF-7 cells but not with recombinant human ERalpha or Sp1 proteins, suggesting that other nuclear factor(s) are required for complex stabilization. The E2-responsive Sp1(N)(x)ERE(1/2) motif identified in the TGFalpha gene promoter has also been characterized in the cathepsin D and heat shock protein 27 gene promoters; however, in the latter two promoters the numbers of intervening nucleotides are 23 and 10 respectively.

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S Zhang, X Li, R Burghardt, R Smith III, and S H Safe

Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is a mitogenic polypeptide that induces proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells, and cotreatment with the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitor LY294002 and the antiestrogen ICI 182780 inhibits IGF-I-induced growth. The role of estrogen receptor α (ERα) in mediating responses induced by IGF-I was investigated in cells transfected with small inhibitory RNA for ERα (iERα). The results showed that IGF-I-dependent phosphorylation of Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase, induction of G1–S-phase progression and enhanced expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin E were dependent on ERα. Moreover, these same IGF-I-induced responses were also inhibited by the antiestrogen ICI 182780 and this was in contrast to a previous report suggesting that ICI 182780 did not affect IGF-I-dependent activation of PI3-K or induction of cyclin D1 expression. ICI 182780 exhibits antimitogenic activity and iERα inhibits G1–S-phase progression and proliferation of MCF-7 cells treated with IGF-I, suggesting that the effects of the antiestrogen are primarily related to downregulation of ERα.

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W Porter, F Wang, R Duan, C Qin, E Castro-Rivera, K Kim, and S Safe

Heat shock protein 27 (Hsp 27) is expressed in mammary tumors and may play a role in tumor growth and response to anti-neoplastic drug therapy. 17beta-Estradiol (E2) induces Hsp 27 mRNA levels in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, and we have investigated the comparative inhibitory mechanisms using the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) agonist, 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and the direct-acting antiestrogen ICI 164,384. TCDD inhibited E2-induced Hsp 27 gene expression and analysis of the Hsp 27 gene promoter showed that the inhibitory response was associated with AhR interactions with a pentanucleotide motif at -3 to +2 in the promoter that corresponded to the core sequence of a dioxin responsive element. In contrast, ICI 164,384 induced Hsp 27 gene expression and reporter gene activity in MCF-7 cells and this represents one of the few examples of the estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) agonist activity of the 'pure' antiestrogen ICI 164,384.