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Cancer Res. 2010 Dec 15;70(24):10277-87. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2840. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Transcriptional control of the ERBB2 amplicon by ERRalpha and PGC-1beta promotes mammary gland tumorigenesis.

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Goodman Cancer Research Centre, McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.

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  • Cancer Res. 2011 Feb 15;71(4):1508.


Overexpression of ERBB2 and its neighboring genes on chromosome 17 occurs in approximately 25% of breast tumors and is associated with poor prognosis. While amplification of the 17q12-21 chromosomal region often correlates with an increase in the transcriptional rates of the locus, the molecular mechanisms and the factors involved in the coordinated expression of genes residing within the ERBB2 amplicon remain largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that estrogen-related receptor α (ERRα, NR3B1) and its coregulator PGC-1β are key effectors in this process. Using a mouse model of ERBB2-initiated mammary tumorigenesis, we first show that ablation of ERRα significantly delays ERBB2-induced tumor development and lowers the levels of amplicon transcripts. Chromosome 17q-wide binding site location analyses in human breast cancer cells show preferential recruitment of ERRα to DNA segments associated with the ERBB2 amplicon. Furthermore, ERRα directs the co-recruitment of the coactivator PGC-1β to segments in the 17q12 region and the recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the promoters of the ERBB2 and coamplified genes. ERRα and PGC-1β also participate in the de-repression of ERBB2 expression through competitive genomic cross-talk with estrogen receptor α (ERα) and, as a consequence, influence tamoxifen sensitivity in breast cancer cells. Taken together, our results suggest that ERRα and PGC-1β are key players in the etiology of malignant breast cancer by coordinating the transcriptional regulation of genes located in the 17q12 region, a process that also involves interference with the repressive function of ERα on ERBB2 expression.

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