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Regulation of Estrogen Receptor Alpha Expression by Translation or Degradation and the Relevance to Tamoxifen Resistance in Breast Cancer



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Regulation of Estrogen Receptor Alpha Expression by Translation or Degradation and the Relevance to Tamoxifen Resistance in Breast Cancer by Chun Gong
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This dissertation, "Regulation of Estrogen Receptor Alpha Expression by Translation or Degradation and the Relevance to Tamoxifen Resistance in Breast Cancer" by Chun, Gong, 龚纯, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Breast cancer is one of the most prevalent cancers affecting women worldwide. In the breast, estrogen receptor alpha (ERα), upon binding with ligands, activates gene transcription and promotes cell growth and proliferation. Tamoxifen, a selective antagonist of ERα in breast, has been proved to be effective therapeutically. In spite of this, resistance remains a prominent issue and underlying mechanisms are not yet fully understood. Aberrant regulation of ER expression at genetic and transcriptional levels has been implicated as the mechanisms accounting for tamoxifen resistance. However, regulation of ERα expression at translational level including protein synthesis and degradation has not yet been characterized and its relevance to tamoxifen resistance has not been described. At level of protein synthesis, eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) selectively enhances the translation of 4E-sensitive mRNAs which contain long and complex 5'-untraslated regions (5'-UTR). eIF4E is often over-expressed in cancers. In silico analysis revealed that ERα contained a highly structured 5'-UTR similar to reported eIF4E-sensitive mRNAs, suggesting that ERα mRNA might be eIF4Esensitive. We showed by polysome fractionation and subsequent Q-PCR quantification that the ERα mRNAs were more actively translated in the cell line expressing higher levels of eIF4E. Consistently, transient transfection of eIF4E into an ERα-positive cell line resulted in enhanced protein expression of ERα. Moreover, subcelluar fractionation showed that eIF4E was bound with ERα mRNAs in the nucleus thus participating in transportation of mRNAs from the nucleus into the cytoplasm. Therefore, eIF4E could positively modulate protein synthesis of ERα by enhancing mRNA export in the nucleus as well as translation in the cytoplasm. Their positive correlation was validated in vivo using 106 Chinese breast cancer samples (Chi-square test, p=0.004). It was also found that elevated expression of eIF4E could mediate resistance to tamoxifen treatment and enhance cell survival. This could be due to enhanced expression of ERα or activation of PI3K/Akt pathway upon eIF4E over-expression. At the level of degradation, ERα is conjugated to poly-ubiquitin chains catalyzed by multiple enzymes and degraded by 26S polysomes. Carboxyl-terminus of Hsc70- interacting protein (CHIP) is an E3 enzyme specific for ERα degradation through interaction with ERα's ligand-binding domain (LBD). Various splicing variants of ERα have been reported and implicated in tamoxifen resistance by interfering with functions of ERα wild type. Variants ERαΔ4, ERαΔ5, ERαΔ6/7 and ERαΔ7 with different degrees of truncation in their LBDs and differential expression were detected or reported in human breast cancers. Their interactions with CHIP may be different, resulting in variations in degradation. We found that the degradation of ERαΔ6/7 through ubiquitin-proteasome pathway was impaired whilst the degradation of other variants were less affected. This finding suggests that the binding site of CHIP to ERαmight be located within the peptide sequences encoded by exon6. Furthermore, as ERαΔ6/7 plays a dominant negative role in regulating functions of ERα wild type, aborted degradation of this variant may result in accumulation of this variant in the cell, inhibiting and in
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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