Estrogen-mediated post transcriptional down-regulation of breast cancer resistance protein/ABCG2

Yasuo Imai, Etsuko Ishikawa, Sakiyo Asada, Yoshikazu Sugimoto
Cancer Research 2005 January 15, 65 (2): 596-604
Breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)/ABCG2 mediates concurrent resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, such as 7-ethyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (SN-38), mitoxantrone, and topotecan, by pumping them out of cells. We previously reported that BCRP transports sulfated estrogens. In the present study, we show that at physiologic levels, estrogens markedly decrease endogenous BCRP expression in the estrogen-responsive and estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive human breast cancer MCF-7 cells, but not in estrogen-nonresponsive human cancer cells. 17 beta-Estradiol (E(2)) also significantly reduces exogenous BCRP expression, driven by a constitutive promoter, in BCRP-transduced estrogen-responsive and ERalpha-positive MCF-7 (MCF-7/BCRP) and T-47D cells, but not in BCRP-transduced estrogen-nonresponsive MDA-MB-231 and SKOV-3 cells. E(2) potentiates the cytotoxicity of SN-38, but not vincristine, in MCF-7/BCRP cells significantly, and increases cellular topotecan uptake in MCF-7 and MCF-7/BCRP cells. Antiestrogen tamoxifen partially reverses E(2)-mediated BCRP down-regulation in MCF-7 and MCF-7/BCRP cells and treatment of MCF-7/BCRP cells with an ERalpha small interfering RNA abolished E(2)-mediated BCRP down-regulation, suggesting that interaction of E(2) and ERalpha is necessary for BCRP down-regulation. E(2) does not affect endogenous BCRP mRNA levels in MCF-7 cells or exogenous BCRP mRNA levels in MCF-7/BCRP cells. The results from pulse-chase labeling experiments with MCF-7/BCRP cells suggest that decreased protein biosynthesis and maturation, but not alterations in protein turnover, might underlie E(2)-mediated BCRP down-regulation. These data indicate that estrogen down-regulates BCRP expression by novel posttranscriptional mechanisms. This is the first report of small molecules that can affect BCRP protein expression in cells and may therefore assist in establishing new strategies for regulating BCRP expression.

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