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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Sep 10;110(37):14960-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1309110110. Epub 2013 Aug 27.

Integration of mTOR and estrogen-ERK2 signaling in lymphangioleiomyomatosis pathogenesis.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, 02115.


Lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM) is a destructive lung disease of women associated with the metastasis of tuberin-null cells with hyperactive mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity. Clinical trials with the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin have revealed partial efficacy but are not curative. Pregnancy appears to exacerbate LAM, suggesting that estrogen (E2) may play a role in the unique features of LAM. Using a LAM patient-derived cell line (bearing biallelic Tuberin inactivation), we demonstrate that E2 stimulates a robust and biphasic activation of ERK2 and transcription of the late response-gene Fra1 associated with epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. In a carefully orchestrated collaboration, activated mTORC1/S6K1 signaling enhances the efficiency of Fra1 translation of Fra1 mRNA transcribed by the E2-ERK2 pathway, through the phosphorylation of the S6K1-dependent eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4B. Our results indicate that targeting the E2-ERK pathway in combination with the mTORC1 pathway may be an effective combination therapy for LAM.


EMT; ERK signaling; estrogen signaling; mTORC1 signaling

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