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Mol Cell Biochem. 2013 Aug;380(1-2):143-51. doi: 10.1007/s11010-013-1667-x. Epub 2013 Apr 28.

Effect of estrogen and tamoxifen on the expression pattern of AP-1 factors in MCF-7 cells: role of c-Jun, c-Fos, and Fra-1 in cell cycle regulation.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Bangalore University, Bangalore, 560 056 Karnataka, India.


The activated transcription factor ERα plays an important role in the breast development and progression of cancer. In a non-classical pathway ER interacts with other transcription factors AP-1, NFkB, SP1, etc. AP-1 transcription factors control rapid responses of mammalian cells to stimuli that impact proliferation, differentiation, and transformation. AP-1 factors are leucine zipper proteins belonging to members of the Jun family (c-Jun, JunB, and JunD) and Fos family (c-Fos, FosB, Fra-1, and Fra-2) proteins. Although AP-1 factors are well characterized, not much is known about the expression pattern of the AP-1 factors in breast cancer cells. Hence to determine which AP-1 factors are expressed and regulated by estrogen, we used human breast cancer MCF-7 cells as in vitro model system. The MCF-7 cells were treated with or without estradiol-17β (E2) or antiestrogen tamoxifen (TMX) and the cell proliferation and viability was assessed by MTT assay. The expression of different AP-1 factors was analyzed by semi-quantitative RT-PCR. The cells treated with E2 found to increase the cell proliferation by more than 35 % and TMX an antiestrogen decreased by 29 % compared to control. The E2 found to induce the expression of c-Jun, Fra-1, and c-Fos, while TMX decreased the expression. In addition TMX also decreased the mRNA levels of Jun-D and Fra-2. These results suggest that the AP-1 factors c-Jun, c-Fos, and Fra-1 may be involved in the proliferation and transformation of MCF-7 cells. E2 also found to induce cyclin D1 and cyclin E1 mRNA transcripts of cell cycle regulators while TMX significantly decreased compared to control. Further E2 induced the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 and TMX decreased mRNA transcripts. The data presented here support the E2-ERα-mediated MCF-7 cell proliferation and confirms the role of AP-1 factors in cell cycle regulation.

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