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PLOS ONE  2014 

Estrogen Regulation of Anti-Apoptotic Bcl-2 Family Member Mcl-1 Expression in Breast Cancer Cells

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0100364

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Abstract:

Estrogen is implicated as an important factor in stimulating breast cancer cell proliferation, and presence of estrogen receptor (ER) is an indication of a good prognosis in breast cancer patients. Mcl-1 is an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member that is often over expressed in breast tumors, correlating with poor survival. In breast cancer, it was been previously shown that epidermal growth factor receptors up-regulate Mcl-1 but the role of estrogen in increasing Mcl-1 expression was unknown. In ERα positive cell lines MCF-7 and ZR-75, estrogen treatment increased Mcl-1 expression at both the protein and mRNA level. In two ERα negative cell lines, SK-BR-3 and MDA-MB-231, estrogen failed to increase in Mcl-1 protein expression. We found that ERα antagonists decreased estrogen mediated Mcl-1 expression at both the protein and mRNA level. Upon knockdown of ERα, Mcl-1 mRNA expression after estrogen treatment was also decreased. We also found that ERα binds to the Mcl-1 promoter at a region upstream of the translation start site containing a half ERE site. Streptavidin-pull down assay showed that both ERα and transcription factor Sp1 bind to this region. These results suggest that estrogen is involved in regulating Mcl-1 expression specifically through a mechanism involving ERα.

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