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Cancer Res. 2006 Aug 1;66(15):7540-7.

p38gamma mitogen-activated protein kinase integrates signaling crosstalk between Ras and estrogen receptor to increase breast cancer invasion.

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Department of Radiation Oncology, Loyola University Chicago, Maywood, IL, USA.


Ras is believed to stimulate invasion and growth by different effector pathways, and yet, the existence of such effectors under physiologic conditions has not been shown. Estrogen receptor (ER), on the other hand, is both anti-invasive and proliferative in human breast cancer, with mechanisms for these paradoxical actions remaining largely unknown. Our previous work showed an essential role of p38gamma mitogen-activated protein kinase in Ras transformation in rat intestinal epithelial cells, and here, we show that p38gamma integrates invasive antagonism between Ras and ER to increase human breast cancer invasion without affecting their proliferative activity. Ras positively regulates p38gamma expression, and p38gamma in turn mediates Ras nonmitogenic signaling to increase invasion. Expression of the Ras/p38gamma axis, however, is trans-suppressed by ER that inhibits invasion and stimulates growth also by distinct mechanisms. Analysis of ER and its cytoplasmic localized mutant reveals that ER additionally binds to p38gamma protein, leading to its specific down-regulation in the nuclear compartment. A p38gamma-antagonistic activity of ER was further shown in a panel of breast cancer cell lines and was shown independent of estrogens by both ER depletion and ER expression. These results revealed that both Ras and ER use distinct pathways to regulate breast cancer growth and invasion, and that p38gamma specifically integrates their antagonistic activity to stimulate cell invasion. Selective targeting of p38gamma-dependent invasion pathways may be a novel strategy to control breast cancer progression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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