ER-alpha36, a variant of ER-alpha, promotes tamoxifen agonist action in endometrial cancer cells via the MAPK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways

Sheng-Li Lin, Li-Ying Yan, Xin-Tian Zhang, Ju Yuan, Mo Li, Jie Qiao, Zhao-Yi Wang, Qing-Yuan Sun
PloS One 2010 February 2, 5 (2): e9013

BACKGROUND: Recently, a novel variant of ER-alpha, ER-alpha36 was identified and cloned. ER-alpha36 lacks intrinsic transcription activity and mainly mediates nongenomic estrogen signaling. Here, we studied the role of nongenomic estrogen signaling pathways mediated by ER-alpha36 in tamoxifen resistance and agonist action.

METHODOLOGY: The cellular localization of ER-alpha36 was examined by immunofluorescence in MCF-7 cells and Hec1A cells. MCF-7 breast cancer cells, MCF-7 cells expressing recombinant ER-alpha36 (MCF-7/ER36), Hec1A endometrial cancer cells and Hec1A cells with siRNA knockdown of ER-alpha36 (Hec1A/RNAiER36) were treated with 17beta-estradial (E2) and tamoxifen (TAM) in the absence and presence of kinase inhibitor U0126 and LY294002. We examined phosphorylation of signaling molecules and the expression of c-Myc by immunoblotting, and tumor cell growth by MTT assay.

CONCLUSIONS: ER variant ER-alpha36 enhances TAM agonist activity through activation of the membrane-initiated signaling pathways in endometrial cancer, and that ER-alpha36 is involved in de novo and acquired TAM resistance in breast cancer.

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