ERα Mediates Estrogen-Induced Expression of the Breast Cancer Metastasis Suppressor Gene BRMS1
Estrogens induce cell proliferation in target tissues by stimulating progression through the G(1) phase of the cell cycle. Induction of cyclin D1 expression is a critical feature of the mitogenic action of estrogen. We have determined a region between -96 and -29 in the cyclin D1 promoter that confers regulation by estrogens in the human mammary carcinoma cells MCF-7. This region encompasses a unique known transcription factor binding site with a sequence of a potential cAMP response element (CRE-D1). The induction is strictly hormone dependent and requires the DNA binding domain as well as both AF-1 and AF-2 domains of the estrogen receptor (ER) alpha. Destruction of the CRE-D1 motif caused complete loss of estrogen responsiveness. Both c-Jun and ATF-2 transactivated the cyclin D1 promoter in transient transfection experiments, and a clear additional increase was detected when ER was cotransfected with either c-Jun or with c-Jun and ATF-2 but not with ATF-2 alone. Furthermore, the expression of a dominant negative variant of c-Jun, TAM67, completely abolished the induction of the cyclin D1 promoter both in the absence and presence of ER. We show that ATF-2 homodimers and ATF-2/c-Jun heterodimers, but not c-Jun homodimers, were able to bind the CRE of the cyclin D1 promoter. To interpret these results, we propose a mechanism in which ATF-2/c-Jun heterodimers bind to the CRE-D1 element and mediate the activation of cyclin D1 promoter by the ER. This mechanism represents a pathway by which estrogens control the proliferation of target cells.