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Endocrinology. 2002 Feb;143(2):467-75.

Activation of antimetastatic Nm23-H1 gene expression by estrogen and its alpha-receptor.

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Department of Biochemistry, Chang-Gung University, Taoyuan, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Metastasis of various malignant cells is inversely related to the abundance of the Nm23-H1 protein. The role of estrogens in tumor metastasis has now been investigated by examining the effect of E2 on the expression of the Nm23-H1 gene. Three human breast carcinoma cell lines, in which endogenous ERalpha is expressed at different levels, were used as a tool to assess the role of ERalpha in Nm23-H1 gene-mediated metastasis. E2 induced time-dependent increases in the abundance of Nm23-H1 mRNA and protein, with the extent of these effects correlating with the level of expression of ERalpha. E2 induced a marked decrease in the invasive activity of MCF-7 and BT-474 cells but had no effect on BCM-1 cells, which had virtually no ERalpha. Consistent with these results, the ER-mediated Nm23-H1 promoter activity was inhibited 3-fold by the E2 antagonist, ICI 182,780. Deletion analysis of the promoter region of the Nm23-H1 gene identified a positive estrogen-responsive element located in -108/-94. ER protein bound specifically to the -108/-79 fragment with high avidity. These results indicate that E2, acting through ERalpha, activated transcription of the Nm23-H1 gene via a positive estrogen-responsive element in the promoter region of the gene. These results suggest that E2 could suppress tumor metastasis by activating the expression of the Nm23-H1 gene.

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