MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNA molecules that negatively control expression of target genes in animals and plants. The microRNA-21 gene (mir-21) has been identified as the only miRNA commonly overexpressed in solid tumors of the lung, breast, stomach, prostate, colon, brain, head and neck, esophagus and pancreas. We initiated a screen to identify miR-21 target genes using a reporter assay and identified a potential miR-21 target in the 3 0 -UTR of the programmed cell death 4 (PDCD4) gene. We cloned the full-length 3 0 -UTR of human PDCD4 downstream of a reporter and found that mir-21 downregulated, whereas a modified antisense RNA to miR-21 upregulated reporter activity. Moreover, deletion of the putative miR-21-binding site (miRNA regulatory element, MRE) from the 3 0 -UTR of PDCD4, or mutations in the MRE abolished the ability of miR-21 to inhibit reporter activity, indicating that this MRE is a critical regulatory region. Western blotting showed that Pdcd4 protein levels were reduced by miR-21 in human and mouse cells, whereas quantitative real-time PCR revealed little difference at the mRNA level, suggesting translational regulation. Finally, overexpression of mir-21 in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells and mouse epidermal JB6 cells promoted soft agar colony formation by downregulating Pdcd4 protein levels. The demonstration that miR-21 promotes cell transformation supports the concept that mir-21 functions as an oncogene by a mechanism that involves translational repression of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4.
Select changes in microRNA (miRNA) expression correlate with estrogen receptor α (ERα) expression in breast tumors. miR-21 is higher in ERα positive than negative tumors, but no one has examined how estradiol (E2) regulates miR-21 in breast cancer cells. Here we report that E2 inhibits miR-21 expression in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. The E2-induced reduction in miR-21 was inhibited by 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4-OHT), ICI 182 780 (Faslodex), and siRNA ERα indicating that the suppression is ERα-mediated. ERα and ERβ agonists PPT and DPN inhibited and 4-OHT increased miR-21 expression. E2 increased luciferase activity from reporters containing the miR-21 recognition elements from the 3′-UTRs of miR-21 target genes, corroborating that E2 represses miR-21 expression resulting in a loss of target gene suppression. The E2-mediated decrease in miR-21 correlated with increased protein expression of endogenous miR-21-targets Pdcd4, PTEN and Bcl-2. siRNA knockdown of ERα blocked the E2-induced increase in Pdcd4, PTEN and Bcl-2. Transfection of MCF-7 cells with antisense (AS) to miR-21 mimicked the E2-induced increase in Pdcd4, PTEN and Bcl-2. These results are the first to demonstrate that E2 represses the expression of an oncogenic miRNA, miR-21, by activating estrogen receptor in MCF-7 cells.
Vascular endothelial cells (EC)are an important target of estrogen action through both the classical genomic (i.e. nuclear-initiated) activities of estrogen receptors ␣ and ␤ (ER␣ and ER␤) and the rapid "nongenomic" (i.e. membrane-initiated) activation of ER that stimulates intracellular phosphorylation pathways. We tested the hypothesis that the red wine polyphenol trans-resveratrol activates MAPK signaling via rapid ER activation in bovine aortic EC, human umbilical vein EC, and human microvascular EC. We report that bovine aortic EC, human umbilical vein EC, and human microvascular EC express ER␣ and ER␤. We demonstrate that resveratrol and estradiol (E 2 ) rapidly activated MAPK in a MEK-1, Src, matrix metalloproteinase, and epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent manner. Importantly, resveratrol activated MAPK and endothelial nitric-oxide synthase (eNOS) at nM concentrations (i.e. an order of magnitude less than that required for ER genomic activity) and concentrations possibly achieved transiently in serum following oral red wine consumption. Co-treatment with ER antagonists ICI 182,780 or 4-hydroxytamoxifen blocked resveratrol-or E 2 -induced MAPK and eNOS activation, indicating ER dependence. We demonstrate for the first time that ER␣-and ER␤-selective agonists propylpyrazole triol and diarylpropionitrile, respectively, stimulate MAPK and eNOS activity. A red but not a white wine extract also activated MAPK, and activity was directly correlated with the resveratrol concentration. These data suggest that ER may play a role in the rapid effects of resveratrol in EC and that some of the atheroprotective effects of resveratrol may be mediated through rapid activation of ER signaling in EC.Epidemiological studies have indicated that the consumption of red wine reduces the incidence of mortality from coronary heart disease (CHD) 1 (1, 2). The cardioprotective effect has been attributed to the polyphenol fraction of red wine (1). A key polyphenol in red wine is resveratrol, trans-3,5,4Ј-trihydroxystilbene, from grape skin. Red wine contains 1-75 mg of transresveratrol/liter (3). Studies in male rats demonstrated that an alcohol-free red wine extract and resveratrol protect the heart from ischemia reperfusion injury (4). Rodent studies showed that orally administered resveratrol is absorbed in the gut, has high affinity for heart and liver (5, 6), and is metabolized to glucuronides that have a t1 ⁄2 of ϳ1.5 h (7). A recurrent question is whether resveratrol, at concentrations present in red wine, is effective in vivo. The oral absorption of 25 mg of trans-
Estrogen has direct and indirect effects on mitochondrial activity, but the mechanisms mediating these effects remain unclear. Others reported that long-term estradiol (E(2)) treatment increased nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF-1) protein in cerebral blood vessels of ovariectomized rats. NRF-1 is a transcription factor that regulates the expression of nuclear-encoded mitochondrial genes, e.g. mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM), that control transcription of the mitochondrial genome. Here we tested the hypothesis that E(2) increases NRF-1 transcription resulting in a coordinate increase in the expression of nuclear- and mitochondrial- encoded genes and mitochondrial respiratory activity. We show that E(2) increased NRF-1 mRNA and protein in MCF-7 breast and H1793 lung adenocarcinoma cells in a time-dependent manner. E(2)-induced NRF-1 expression was inhibited by the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI 182,780 and actinomycin D but not by phosphoinositide-3 kinase and MAPK inhibitors, indicating a genomic mechanism of E(2) regulation of NRF-1 transcription. An estrogen response element (ERE) in the NRF-1 promoter bound ER alpha and ER beta in vitro, and E(2) induced ER alpha and ER beta recruitment to this ERE in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in MCF-7 cells. The NRF-1 ERE activated reporter gene expression in transfected cells. Small interfering RNA to ER alpha and ER beta revealed that ER alpha mediates E(2)-induced NRF-1 transcription. The E(2)-induced increase in NRF-1 was followed by increased TFAM and the transcription of Tfam-regulated mitochondrial DNA-encoded COI and NDI genes and increased mitochondrial biogenesis. Knockdown of NRF-1 blocked E(2) stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and activity, indicating a mechanism by which estrogens regulate mitochondrial function by increasing NRF-1 expression.
Estrogens have cell-specific effects on a variety of physiological endpoints including regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and activity. Estrogens regulate gene transcription by the classical genomic mechanism of binding to estrogen receptors α and β (ERα and ERβ) as well as the more recently described nongenomic pathways involving plasma membrane-associated ERs that activate intracellular protein kinase-mediated phosphorylation signaling cascades. Here I will review the rapid and longer-term effects of estrogen on mitochondrial function. The identification of ERα and ERβ within mitochondria of various cells and tissues is discussed with a model of estrogen regulation of the transcription of Nuclear Respiratory Factor-1 (NRF-1, NRF1). NRF-1 subsequently promotes transcription of mitochondrial transcription factor Tfam (mtDNA maintenance factor, also called mtTFA) and then Tfam targets mtDNA-encoded genes. The nuclear effects of estrogens on gene expression directly controlling mitochondrial biogenesis, oxygen consumption, mtDNA transcription, and apoptosis are reviewed. Overall, we are just beginning to evaluate the many direct and indirect effects of estrogens on mitochondrial activities.
One mechanism by which ligand-activated estrogen receptors and (ER and ER ) stimulate gene transcription is through direct ER interaction with specific DNA sequences, estrogen response elements (EREs). ERE-bound ER recruits coactivators that stimulate gene transcription. Binding of ER to natural and synthetic EREs with different nucleotide sequences alters ER binding affinity, conformation, and transcriptional activity, indicating that the ERE sequence is an allosteric effector of ER action. Here we tested the hypothesis that alterations in ER conformation induced by binding to different ERE sequences modulates ER interaction with coactivators and corepressors. CHO-K1 cells transfected with ER or ER show ERE sequence-dependent differences in the functional interaction of ER and ER with coactivators steroid receptor coativator 1 (SRC-1), SRC-2 (glucocorticoid receptor interacting protein 1 (GRIP1)), SRC-3 amplified in breast cancer 1 (AIB1) and ACTR, cyclic AMP binding protein (CBP), and steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA), corepressors nuclear receptor co-repressor (NCoR) and silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone recpetors (SMRT), and secondary coactivators coactivator associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) and protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (PRMT1). We note both ligand-independent as well estradiol-and 4-hydroxytamoxifen-dependent differences in ER-coregulator activity. In vitro ER-ERE binding assays using receptor interaction domains of these coregulators failed to recapitulate the cell-based results, substantiating the importance of the full-length proteins in regulating ER activity. These data demonstrated that the ERE sequence impacts estradioland 4-hydroxytamoxifen-occupied ER and ER interaction with coregulators as measured by transcriptional activity in mammalian cells.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short, non-coding RNAs that generally base-pair within the 3′ untranslated region of target mRNAs causing translational inhibition and/or mRNA degradation. Estradiol (E2) and other estrogen receptor (ER) ligands suppress or stimulate miRNA expression in human breast cancer cells, endometrial cells, rat mammary gland, and mouse uterus and post-translationally regulate protein expression. Aberrant miRNA expression is implicated in estrogen-related breast and endometrial cancers and a number of miRNAs downregulate ERα. The role of estrogen-regulated miRNA expression, the target genes of these miRNAs, and the role of miRNAs in health and disease is a “hot” area of research that will yield new insight into molecular mechanisms of estrogen action.
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