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Clin Cancer Res. 2005 Sep 1;11(17):6139-47.

Estrogen receptor alpha binds to peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor response element and negatively interferes with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma signaling in breast cancer cells.

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Department of Pharmaco-Biology, University of Calabria, Cosenza, Italy.



The molecular mechanisms involved in the repressive effects exerted by estrogen receptors (ER) on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma-mediated transcriptional activity remain to be elucidated. The aim of the present study was to provide new insight into the crosstalk between ERalpha and PPARgamma pathways in breast cancer cells.


Using MCF7 and HeLa cells as model systems, we did transient transfections and electrophoretic mobility shift assay and chromatin immunoprecipitation studies to evaluate the ability of ERalpha to influence PPAR response element-mediated transcription. A possible direct interaction between ERalpha and PPARgamma was ascertained by co-immunoprecipitation assay, whereas their modulatory role in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway was evaluated by determining PI3K activity and AKT phosphorylation. As a biological counterpart, we investigated the growth response to the cognate ligands of both receptors in hormone-dependent MCF7 breast cancer cells.


Our data show for the first time that ERalpha binds to PPAR response element and represses its transactivation. Moreover, we have documented the physical and functional interactions of ERalpha and PPARgamma, which also involve the p85 regulatory subunit of PI3K. Interestingly, ERalpha and PPARgamma pathways have an opposite effect on the regulation of the PI3K/AKT transduction cascade, explaining, at least in part, the divergent response exerted by the cognate ligands 17beta-estradiol and BRL49653 on MCF7 cell proliferation.


ERalpha physically associates with PPARgamma and functionally interferes with PPARgamma signaling. This crosstalk could be taken into account in setting new pharmacologic strategies for breast cancer disease.

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