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Mol Cell Biol. 2008 Oct;28(19):5937-50. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00579-08. Epub 2008 Jul 21.

The AIB1 oncogene promotes breast cancer metastasis by activation of PEA3-mediated matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) and MMP9 expression.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, 1 Baylor Plaza, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


Amplified-in-breast cancer 1 (AIB1) is an overexpressed transcriptional coactivator in breast cancer. Although overproduced AIB1 is oncogenic, its role and underlying mechanisms in metastasis remain unclear. Here, mammary tumorigenesis and lung metastasis were investigated in wild-type (WT) and AIB1(-/-) mice harboring the mouse mammary tumor virus-polyomavirus middle T (PyMT) transgene. All WT/PyMT mice developed massive lung metastasis, but AIB1(-/-)/PyMT mice with comparable mammary tumors had significantly less lung metastasis. The recipient mice with transplanted AIB1(-/-)/PyMT tumors also had much less lung metastasis than the recipient mice with transplanted WT/PyMT tumors. WT/PyMT tumor cells expressed mesenchymal markers such as vimentin and N-cadherin, migrated and invaded rapidly, and formed disorganized cellular masses in three-dimensional cultures. In contrast, AIB1(-/-)/PyMT tumor cells maintained epithelial markers such as E-cadherin and ZO-1, migrated and invaded slowly, and still formed polarized acinar structures in three-dimensional cultures. Molecular analyses revealed that AIB1 served as a PEA3 coactivator and formed complexes with PEA3 on matrix metalloproteinase 2 (MMP2) and MMP9 promoters to enhance their expression in both mouse and human breast cancer cells. In 560 human breast tumors, AIB1 expression was found to be positively associated with PEA3, MMP2, and MMP9. These findings suggest a new alternative strategy for controlling the deleterious roles of these MMPs in breast cancer by inhibiting their upstream coregulator AIB1.

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