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J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 8;283(6):3433-44. Epub 2007 Dec 14.

EP2 and EP4 receptors regulate aromatase expression in human adipocytes and breast cancer cells. Evidence of a BRCA1 and p300 exchange.

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Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10065, USA.


Cytochrome P450 aromatase (aromatase), a product of the CYP19 gene, catalyzes the synthesis of estrogens from androgens. Because aromatase-dependent estrogen biosynthesis has been linked to hormone-dependent breast carcinogenesis, it is important to elucidate the mechanisms that regulate CYP19 gene expression. The main objective of this study was to identify the receptors (EP) for prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)) that mediate the induction of CYP19 transcription in human adipocytes and breast cancer cells. Treatment with PGE(2) induced aromatase, an effect that was mimicked by either EP(2) or EP(4) agonists. Antagonists of EP(2) or EP(4) or small interference RNA-mediated down-regulation of these receptors suppressed PGE(2)-mediated induction of aromatase. PGE(2) via EP(2) and EP(4) stimulated the cAMP-->protein kinase A pathway resulting in enhanced interaction between P-CREB, p300, and the aromatase promoter I.3/II. Overexpressing a mutant form of p300 that lacks histone acetyltransferase activity suppressed PGE(2)-mediated induction of aromatase promoter activity. PGE(2) via EP(2) and EP(4) also caused a reduction in both the amounts of BRCA1 and the interaction between BRCA1 and the aromatase promoter I.3/II. Activation of the aromatase promoter by PGE(2) was suppressed by overexpressing wild-type BRCA1. Silencing of EP(2) or EP(4) also blocked PGE(2)-mediated induction of the progesterone receptor, a prototypic estrogen-response gene. In a mouse model, overexpressing COX-2 in the mammary gland, a known inducer of PGE(2) synthesis, led to increased aromatase mRNA and activity and reduced amounts of BRCA1; these effects were reversed by knocking out EP(2). Taken together, these results suggest that PGE(2) via EP(2) and EP(4) activates the cAMP-->PKA-->CREB pathway leading to enhanced CYP19 transcription and increased aromatase activity. Reciprocal changes in the interaction between BRCA1, p300, and the aromatase promoter I.3/II contributed to the inductive effects of PGE(2).

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