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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2002 Feb;80(2):231-8.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) transactivation by estrogen via the G-protein-coupled receptor, GPR30: a novel signaling pathway with potential significance for breast cancer.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Rhode Island Hospital and Brown University, Aldrich Bldg Rm 718, 593 Eddy Street, Providence, RI 02903, USA.


The biological and biochemical effects of estrogen have been ascribed to its known receptors, which function as ligand-inducible transcription factors. However, estrogen also triggers rapid activation of classical second messengers (cAMP, calcium, and inositol triphosphate) and stimulation of intracellular signaling cascades mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP K), PI3K and eNOS. These latter events are commonly activated by membrane receptors that either possess intrinsic tyrosine kinase activity or couple to heterotrimeric G-proteins. We have shown that estrogen transactivates the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) to MAP K signaling axis via the G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), GPR30, through the release of surface-bound proHB-EGF from estrogen receptor (ER)-negative human breast cancer cells [Molecular Endocrinology 14 (2000) 1649]. This finding is consistent with a growing body of evidence suggesting that transactivation of EGFRs by GPCRs is a recurrent theme in cell signaling. GPCR-mediated transactivation of EGFRs by estrogen provides a previously unappreciated mechanism of cross-talk between estrogen and serum growth factors, and explains prior data reporting the EGF-like effects of estrogen. This novel mechanism by which estrogen activates growth factor-dependent signaling and its implications for breast cancer biology are discussed further in this review.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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