Infection of susceptible cells by herpes simplex virus (HSV) requires the interaction of the HSV gD glycoprotein with one of two principal entry receptors, herpes virus entry mediator (HVEM) or nectins. HVEM naturally functions in immune signaling, and the gD-HVEM interaction alters innate signaling early after mucosal infection. We investigated whether the gD-HVEM interaction during priming changes lymphocyte recall responses in the murine intravaginal model. Mice were primed with attenuated HSV-2 expressing wild-type gD or mutant gD unable to engage HVEM and challenged 32 days later with virulent HSV-2 expressing wild-type gD. HSV-specific CD8+ T cells were decreased at the genital mucosa during the recall response after priming with virus unable to engage HVEM but did not differ in draining lymph nodes. CD4+ T cells, which are critical for entry of HSV-specific CD8+ T cells into mucosa in acute infection, did not differ between the two groups in either tissue. An inverse association between Foxp3+ CD4+ regulatory T cells and CD8+ infiltration into the mucosa was not statistically significant. CXCR3 surface expression was not significantly different among different lymphocyte subsets. We conclude that engagement of HVEM during the acute phase of HSV infection influences the antiviral CD8+ recall response by an unexplained mechanism.
Breast cancer progression involves multiple genetic events, which can activate dominant-acting oncogenes and disrupt the function of specific tumor suppressor genes. This article describes several key oncogene and tumor suppressor signaling networks that have been implicated in breast cancer progression. Among the tumor suppressors, the article emphasizes BRCA1/2 and p53 tumor suppressors. In addition to these well characterized tumor suppressors, the article highlights the importance of PTEN tumor suppressor in counteracting PI3K signaling from activated oncogenes such as ErbB2. This article discusses the use of mouse models of human breast that recapitulate the key genetic events involved in the initiation and progression of breast cancer. Finally, the therapeutic potential of targeting these key tumor suppressor and oncogene signaling networks is discussed.
Mouse models can recapitulate genetic events that disrupt signaling by ErbB2, p53, and PTEN during breast cancer progression. They also reveal that mutations in Brca1 can produce different tumor subtypes, depending on the context.
Consistent with their essential role in cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix, integrins and their associated signaling pathways have been shown to be involved in cell proliferation, migration, invasion and survival, processes required in both tumorigenesis and metastasis. β1-integrins represent the predominantly expressed integrins in mammary epithelial cells and have been proven crucial for mammary gland development and differentiation. Here we provide an overview of the studies that have used transgenic mouse models of mammary tumorigenesis to establish β1-integrin as a critical mediator of breast cancer progression and thereby as a potential therapeutic target for the development of new anticancer strategies.
The phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase/Akt pathway is frequently dysregulated in cancer which can have unfavorable consequences in terms of cell proliferation, survival, metabolism and migration. Increasing evidence suggests that Akt1, Akt2 and Akt3 play unique roles in breast cancer initiation and progression. We have recently shown that in contrast to Akt1 which accelerates mammary tumor induction in transgenic mice, Akt2 promotes metastasis of tumor cells without affecting the latency of tumor development. Despite the distinct phenotypic outputs resulting from Akt1 or Akt2 activation, very little is known regarding the mode by which such unique functions originate from these highly related kinases. Here we discuss potential mechanisms contributing to the differing functional specificity of Akt1 and Akt2 with respect to migration, invasion and metastasis.
Akt; breast cancer; metastasis; transgenic mouse; invasion
Activation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) is hypothesized to play an important role in the pathogenesis of human breast cancer.
To directly evaluate the role of FAK in mammary tumour progression, we have used a conditional FAK mouse model and mouse mammary tumour virus (MMTV)-driven Cre recombinase strain to inactivate FAK in the mammary epithelium of a transgenic mouse model of ErbB2 breast cancer.
Although mammary epithelial disruption of FAK in this model resulted in both a delay in onset and a decrease in the number of neoplastic lesions, mammary tumours occurred in 100% of virgin female mice. All of the tumours and derived metastases that developed were proficient for FAK due to the absence of Cre recombinase expression. The hyperplastic epithelia where Cre-mediated recombination of FAK could be detected exhibited a profound proliferative defect. Consistent with these observations, disruption of FAK in established tumour cells resulted in reduced tumour growth that was associated with impaired proliferation. To avoid the selection for FAK-proficient ErbB2 tumour epithelia through escape of Cre-mediated recombination, we next intercrossed the FAK conditional mice with a separate MMTV-driven ErbB2 strain that co-expressed ErbB2 and Cre recombinase on the same transcriptional unit.
While a delay in tumour induction was noted, FAK-deficient tumours arose in 100% of female animals indicating that FAK is dispensable for ErbB2 tumour initiation. In addition, the FAK-null ErbB2 tumours retained their metastatic potential. We further demonstrated that the FAK-related Pyk2 kinase is still expressed in these tumours and is associated with its downstream regulator p130Cas. These observations indicate that Pyk2 can functionally substitute for FAK in ErbB2 mammary tumour progression.
While p21 is well known to inhibit cyclin-CDK activity in the nucleus and it has also been demonstrated to have oncogenic properties in different types of human cancers. In vitro studies showed that the oncogenic function of p21is closely related to its cytoplasmic localization. However, it is unclear whether cytoplasmic p21 contributes to tumorigenesis in vivo. To address this question, we generated transgenic mice expressing the Akt-phosphorylated form of p21 (p21T145D) in the mammary epithelium. The results showed that Akt-activated p21 was expressed in the cytoplasm of mammary epithelium. Overexpression of Akt-activated p21 accelerated tumor onset and promoted lung metastasis in MMTV/neu mice, providing evidence that p21, especially cytoplasmic phosphorylated p21, has an oncogenic role in promoting mammary tumorigenesis and metastasis.
p21; PKB/Akt; mammary tumorigenesis; lung metastasis
Parathyroid hormone–related protein (PTHrP) is a secreted factor expressed in almost all normal fetal and adult tissues. It is involved in a wide range of developmental and physiological processes, including serum calcium regulation. PTHrP is also associated with the progression of skeletal metastases, and its dysregulated expression in advanced cancers causes malignancy-associated hypercalcemia. Although PTHrP is frequently expressed by breast tumors and other solid cancers, its effects on tumor progression are unclear. Here, we demonstrate in mice pleiotropic involvement of PTHrP in key steps of breast cancer — it influences the initiation and progression of primary tumors and metastases. Pthrp ablation in the mammary epithelium of the PyMT-MMTV breast cancer mouse model caused a delay in primary tumor initiation, inhibited tumor progression, and reduced metastasis to distal sites. Mechanistically, it reduced expression of molecular markers of cell proliferation (Ki67) and angiogenesis (factor VIII), antiapoptotic factor Bcl-2, cell-cycle progression regulator cyclin D1, and survival factor AKT1. PTHrP also influenced expression of the adhesion factor CXCR4, and coexpression of PTHrP and CXCR4 was crucial for metastatic spread. Importantly, PTHrP-specific neutralizing antibodies slowed the progression and metastasis of human breast cancer xenografts. Our data identify what we believe to be new functions for PTHrP in several key steps of breast cancer and suggest that PTHrP may constitute a novel target for therapeutic intervention.
Amplification or overexpression of MDM2 promotes a variety of human tumors by degrading tumor suppressor proteins such as p53. Phosphorylation of MDM2 on serines 166 and 186 by the survival kinase Akt inhibits p53-mediated apoptosis. However, it is unclear whether this pathway contributes to normal or malignant pathophysiology in vivo. To address these questions, we generated transgenic mice expressing the Akt-phosphorylated form of MDM2 (MDM2DDS166D/S186D) in the mammary epithelium. Activation of MDM2 delayed mammary gland involution and accelerated tumor progression in MMTV/neu transgenic mice by inhibiting apoptosis in a manner associated with decreased p53 expression. Our findings offer in vivo evidence that activation of MDM2 by Akt contributes to mammary development and tumorigenesis.
SnoN is an important negative regulator of transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) signaling that was originally identified as a transforming oncogene in chicken embryonic fibroblasts. Both pro-oncogenic and antioncogenic activities of SnoN have been reported, but its function in normal epithelial cells has not been defined. In the mouse mammary gland, SnoN is expressed at relatively low levels, but it is transiently upregulated at late gestation before being downregulated during lactation and early involution. To assess the effects of elevated levels of SnoN, we generated transgenic mice expressing a SnoN fragment under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. In this model system, SnoN elevation increased side-branching and lobular-alveolar proliferation in virgin glands, while accelerating involution in postlactation glands. Increased proliferation stimulated by SnoN was insufficient to induce mammary tumorigenesis. In contrast, elevated levels of SnoN cooperated with polyoma middle T antigen to accelerate the formation of aggressive multifocal adenocarcinomas and to increase the formation of pulmonary metastases. Our studies define functions of SnoN in mammary epithelial cell proliferation and involution, and provide the first in vivo evidence of a pro-oncogenic role for SnoN in mammalian tumorigenesis.
Immunologic “immaturity” is often blamed for the increased susceptibility of newborn humans to infection, but the precise mechanisms and details of immunologic development remain somewhat obscure. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV) are two of the more common severe infectious agents of the fetal and newborn periods. HSV infection in the newborn most commonly occurs after exposure to the virus during delivery, and can lead to a spectrum of clinical disease ranging from isolated skin-eye-mucous membrane infection to severe disseminated multiorgan disease, often including encephalitis. In contrast to HSV, clinically severe CMV infections early in life are usually acquired during the intrauterine period. These infections can result in a range of clinical disease, including hearing loss and neurodevelopmental delay. However, term newborns infected with CMV after delivery are generally asymptomatic, and older children and adults often acquire infection with HSV or CMV with either no or mild clinical symptoms. The reasons for these widely variable clinical presentations are not completely understood, but likely relate to developmental differences in immune responses.
This review summarizes recent human and animal studies of the immunologic response of the fetus and newborn to these two infections, in comparison to the responses of older children and adults. The immunologic defense of the newborn against each virus is considered under the broader categories of (i) the placental barrier to infection, (ii) skin and mucosal barriers (including antimicrobial peptides), (iii) innate responses, (iv) humoral responses, and (v) cellular responses. A specific focus is made on recent studies of innate and cellular immunity to HSV and CMV.
herpes simplex virus; cytomegalovirus; neonatal immunity; fetal immunity
Type I and type II classes of interferons (IFNs) signal through the JAK/STAT1 pathway and are known to be important in adaptive and innate immune responses and in protection against tumors. Although STAT1 is widely considered a tumor suppressor, it remains unclear, however, if this function occurs in tumor cells (cell autonomous) or if STAT1 acts primarily through immune cells. Here, the question of whether STAT1 has a cell autonomous role in mammary tumor formation was addressed in a mouse model of ERBB2/neu-induced breast cancer in the absence and presence of STAT1. For this purpose, mice that carry floxed Stat1 alleles, which permit cell-specific removal of STAT1, were generated. To induce tumors only in mammary cells lacking STAT1, Stat1 floxed mice were crossed with transgenic mice that express cre recombinase and the neu oncogene under the mouse mammary tumor virus LTR (Stat1fl/fl NIC). Stat1 was effectively deleted in mammary epithelium of virgin Stat1fl/fl NIC females. Time-to-tumor onset was significantly shorter in Stat1fl/fl NIC females than in WT NIC (Wilcoxon rank sum test, P = .02). The median time-to-tumor onset in the Stat1fl/fl NIC mice was 49.4 weeks, whereas it was 62.4 weeks in the WT NIC mice. These results suggest that STAT1 in mammary epithelial cells may play a role in suppressing tumorigenesis. The Stat1 floxed allele described in this study is also a unique resource to determine the cellular targets of IFNs and STAT1 action, which should aid our understanding and appreciation of these pathways.
Amplification and overexpression of ErbB2 strongly correlates with aggressive breast cancers. A deeper understanding of pathways downstream of ErbB2 signaling that are required for transformation of human mammary epithelial cells will identify novel strategies for therapeutic intervention in breast cancer. Using an inducible activation of ErbB2 autophosphorylation site mutants and the MCF-10A three-dimensional culture system we investigated pathways used by ErbB2 to transform epithelia. We report that ErbB2 induces cell proliferation and loss of 3D organization by redundant mechanisms whereas it disrupts apical basal polarity and inhibits apoptosis using Tyr 1201 and Tyr 1226/7 respectively. Signals downstream of Tyr 1226/7 were also sufficient to confer paclitaxel resistance. The Tyr1226/7 binds Shc, and knockdown of Shc blocked the ability of ErbB2 to inhibit apoptosis and mediate paclitaxel resistance. Tyr1226/7 is known to activate the Ras/Erk pathway, however, paclitaxel resistance did not correlate with activation of Erk or Akt suggesting the presence of a novel mechanism. Thus, our results demonstrate that targeting pathways used by ErbB2 to inhibit cell death is a better option than targeting cell proliferation pathways. Furthermore, we identify a novel function for Shc as a regulator of apoptosis and drug resistance in human mammary epithelial cells transformed by ErbB2.
ErbB2, a metastasis-promoting oncoprotein, is overexpressed in ~25% of invasive/metastatic breast cancers, but in 50–60% of non-invasive ductal carcinomas in situ (DCIS). It has been puzzling how a subset of ErbB2-overexpressing DCIS develops into invasive breast cancer (IBC). We found that co-overexpression of 14-3-3ζ in ErbB2-overexpressing DCIS conferred a higher risk of progression to IBC. ErbB2 and 14-3-3ζ overexpression, respectively, increased cell migration and decreased cell adhesion, two prerequisites of tumor cell invasion. 14-3-3ζ overexpression reduced cell adhesion by activating the TGFβ/Smads pathway that led to ZFHX1B/SIP-1 upregulation, E-cadherin loss, and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Importantly, patients whose breast tumors overexpressed both ErbB2 and 14-3-3ζ had higher rates of metastatic recurrence and death than those whose tumors overexpressed only one.
High levels of activated Stat3 are often found in human breast cancers and can correlate with poor patient outcome. We employed an activated-ErbB2 mouse model of breast cancer to investigate the in vivo role of Stat3 in mammary tumor progression and found that Stat3 does not alter mammary tumor initiation but dramatically affects metastatic progression. Four-fold fewer animals exhibited lung metastases in the absence of Stat3 and a 12-fold reduction in the number of lung lesions was observed in the Stat3-null tumors when compared to tumors from the wild type cohort. The decreased malignancy in Stat3-deficient tumors is attributed to a reduction in both angiogenic and inflammatory responses associated with a Stat3-dependent transcriptional cascade involving C/EBPδ.
Breast cancer is genetically and clinically a heterogeneous disease. However, the exact contribution of different cell types and oncogenic mutations to this heterogeneity are not well understood. Recently, we discovered an interaction between Wnt and integrin-linked kinase (ILK) within the signaling cascade that regulates cell growth and survival. Interestingly, mammary-specific expression of either one of these proteins has been shown to promote mammary tumorigenesis. In light of our recent findings and to investigate the potential interaction between Wnt and ILK proteins during mammary tumor formation and progression, we established a transgenic mouse model that expresses both Wnt and ILK in mammary epithelial cells.
A novel transgenic mouse model with mammary-specific expression of both Wnt1 and ILK was generated by crossing the two previously characterized mouse models, MMTV-Wnt1 and MMTV-ILK. The resulting MMTV-Wnt/ILK mice were closely monitored for tumor development and growth, as well as for the tumor onset. The molecular phenotypes of both tumors and premalignant mammary glands were investigated by using biochemical and global gene-expression analysis approaches.
A significant acceleration in mammary tumor incidence and growth was observed in the MMTV-Wnt/ILK mice. Pre-neoplastic mammary glands also display lobuloalveolar hyperplasia and an increase in ductal epithelium proliferation. Apart from elevated expression of Wnt/ILK targets, such as β-catenin and cyclin D1, gene-expression profiling identified the surprising activation of the FOXA1 transcription factor. Upregulation of FOXA1, which is also known as the molecular marker of differentiated mammary luminal cells, was consistent with the expansion of the enriched luminal progenitor population or CD29loCD24hiCD61+ cells in MMTV-Wnt/ILK tumors.
These results show cooperation between Wnt1 and ILK transgenes during mammary carcinogenesis, leading to changes in a transcriptional network, which could dictate a specific breast cancer phenotype with enhanced growth dynamics. The MMTV-Wnt/ILK can be used as a model to identify further the genes downstream of the estrogen receptor-β/FOXA1 and to investigate the mechanisms targeting the expansion of the luminal progenitor cells leading to hyperplasia and tumorigenesis.
Cytotoxic T-cells are important in controlling herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) reactivation and peripheral lesion resolution. Humans latently infected with HSV-2 have cytotoxic T-cells directed against epitopes present in tegument proteins. Studies in mice of immunity to HSV have commonly focused on immunodominant responses in HSV envelope glycoproteins. These antigens have not proved to be an effective prophylactic vaccine target for most of the human population. The murine immune response against HSV tegument proteins has not been explored. We analyzed cellular responses in BALB/c mice directed against the tegument proteins encoded by UL46, UL47, and UL49 and against the envelope glycoprotein gD after DNA vaccination or HSV-2 infection. Splenocyte T-cell responses to overlapping peptides from UL46 and UL47 were more than 500 interferon-γ spot forming units per 106 responder cells after DNA vaccination. Peptide truncation studies, responder cell fractionation, and major histocompatibility complex binding studies identified several CD8+ and CD4+ epitopes. Cellular responses to tegument protein epitopes were also detected after HSV-2 infection. Tegument proteins are rational candidates for further HSV-2 vaccine research.
Herpes simplex virus; Rodent; Cytotoxic T-cells; Viral infection; Vaccination
Previous studies have demonstrated that c-Src tyrosine kinase interacts specifically with ErbB2, but not with other members of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family. To identify the site of interaction, we recently used a chimeric EGFR/ErbB2 receptor approach to show that c-Src requires the kinase region of ErbB2 for binding. Here, we demonstrate that retention of a conserved amino acid motif surrounding tyrosine 877 (referred to here as EGFRYHAD) is sufficient to confer binding to c-Src. Surprisingly the association of c-Src was not dependent on its SH2 or SH3 domain or on the phosphorylation or kinase activity of the receptor. We further show that the chimeric EGFRs that contain the Y877 motif are transforming in vitro and in vivo following ligand stimulation. Transformation was also partially dependent on sustained activation of Stat3. Finally, we demonstrate that EGFRs with mutations in the catalytic domain, originally identified in lung cancer and conferring increased sensitivity to gefitinib and erlotinib, two EGFR kinase inhibitors, gained the capacity to bind c-Src. Moreover, transformation by these EGFR mutants was inhibited by Src inhibitors regardless of their sensitivities to gefitinib and erlotinib. These observations have important implications for understanding the molecular basis for resistance to EGFR inhibitors and implicate c-Src as a critical signaling molecule in EGFR mutant-induced transformation.
Cytotoxic T cells are important in controlling herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) reactivation and peripheral lesion resolution. Humans latently infected with HSV-2 have cytotoxic T cells directed against epitopes present in tegument proteins. Studies in mice of immunity to HSV have commonly focused on immunodominant responses in HSV envelope glycoproteins. These antigens have not proved to be an effective prophylactic vaccine target for most of the human population. The murine immune response against HSV tegument proteins has not been explored. We analysed cellular responses in BALB/c mice directed against the tegument proteins encoded by UL46, UL47 and UL49 and against the envelope glycoprotein gD after DNA vaccination or HSV-2 infection. After DNA vaccination, the splenocyte T-cell response to overlapping peptides from UL46 and UL47 was more than 500 gamma interferon spot-forming units per 106 responder cells. Peptide truncation studies, responder cell fractionation and major histocompatibility complex binding studies identified several CD8+ and CD4+ epitopes. Cellular responses to tegument protein epitopes were also detected after HSV-2 infection. Tegument proteins are rational candidates for further HSV-2 vaccine research.
An important step in the process of metastasis from the primary tumor is invasive spread into the surrounding stroma. Using an in vivo invasion assay, we have previously shown that imposed gradients of EGF or CSF-1 can induce invasion through an EGF/CSF-1 paracrine loop between cancer cells and macrophages. We now report that invasion induced by other ligands also relies upon this EGF/CSF-1 paracrine invasive loop. Using an in vivo invasion assay, we show that MTLn3 breast cancer cells overexpressing ErbB3 exhibit enhanced invasion compared to control MTLn3 cells in response to the ErbB3 ligand HRG-β1. The invasive response of both MTLn3-ErbB3 and transgenic MMTV-Neu tumors to HRG-β1 is inhibited by blocking EGFR, CSF-1R, or macrophage function, indicating that invasiveness to HRG-β1 is dependent upon the EGF/CSF-1 paracrine loop. Furthermore, we show that CXCL12 also triggers in vivo invasion of transgenic MMTV-PyMT tumors in an EGF/CSF-1 dependent manner. Although the invasion induced by HRG-β1 or CXCL12 is dependent on the EGF/CSF-1 paracrine loop, invasion induced by EGF is not dependent upon HRG-β1 or CXCL12 signaling, demonstrating an asymmetric relationship between different ligand/receptor systems in driving invasion. Our results identify a stromal/tumor interaction that acts as an engine underlying invasion induced by multiple ligands.
Loss of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) and amplification or elevated expression of ErbB-2 are both involved in human breast cancer. To directly test the importance of these genetic events in mammary tumorigenesis, we have assessed whether mammary-specific disruption of PTEN could cooperate with activation of ErbB-2. Transgenic mice expressing ErbB-2 under the transcriptional control of its endogenous promoter (ErbB-2KI) were interbred with mice carrying conditional PTEN alleles and an MMTV/Cre transgene. Loss of one or both PTEN alleles resulted in a dramatic acceleration of mammary tumor onset and an increased occurrence of lung metastases in the ErbB-2KI strain. Tumor progression in PTEN-deficient/ErbB-2KI strains was associated with elevated ErbB-2 protein levels, which were not due to ErbB-2 amplification or to a dramatic increase in ErbB-2 transcripts. Moreover, the PTEN-deficient/ErbB-2KI–derived mouse mammary tumors display striking morphologic heterogeneity in comparison with the homogeneous pathology of the ErbB-2KI parental strain. Therefore, inactivation of PTEN would not only have a dramatic effect on ErbB-2–induced mammary tumorigenesis but would also lead to the formation of mammary tumors that, in part, display pathologic and molecular features associated with the basal-like subtype of primary human breast cancer.
Recombinant Listeria monocytogenes expressing a type-common herpes simplex virus (HSV) gB-peptide was shown previously to protect against footpad inoculation with HSV-1. We tested this construct for protection against vaginal challenge with HSV-2. Primed mice demonstrated strong recall responses, had modest reductions in HSV-2 DNA in vaginal mucosa, but were not protected from disease.
Cooperation between the Neu/ErbB-2 and transforming growth factor β (TGF-β) signaling pathways enhances the invasive and metastatic capabilities of breast cancer cells; however, the underlying mechanisms mediating this synergy have yet to be fully explained. We demonstrate that TGF-β induces the migration and invasion of mammary tumor explants expressing an activated Neu/ErbB-2 receptor, which requires signaling from autophosphorylation sites located in the C terminus. A systematic analysis of mammary tumor explants expressing Neu/ErbB-2 add-back receptors that couple to distinct signaling molecules has mapped the synergistic effect of TGF-β-induced motility and invasion to signals emanating from tyrosine residues 1226/1227 and 1253 of Neu/ErbB-2. Given that the ShcA adaptor protein is known to interact with Neu/ErbB-2 through these residues, we investigated the importance of this signaling molecule in TGF-β-induced cell motility and invasion. The reduction of ShcA expression rendered cells expressing activated Neu/ErbB-2, or add-back receptors signaling specifically through tyrosines 1226/1227 or 1253, unresponsive to TGF-β-induced motility and invasion. In addition, a dominant-negative form of ShcA, lacking its three known tyrosine phosphorylation sites, completely abrogates the TGF-β-induced migration and invasion of breast cancer cells expressing activated Neu/ErbB-2. Our results implicate signaling through the ShcA adaptor as a key component in the synergistic interaction between these pathways.
Amplification and elevated expression of the ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinase occurs in 20% of human breast cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis. We have previously demonstrated that mammary tissue-specific expression of activated ErbB2 under the control of its endogenous promoter results in mammary tumor formation. Tumor development was associated with amplification and overexpression of ErbB2 at both the transcript and protein levels. Here we demonstrate that the EGR2/Krox20 transcription factor and its coactivator CITED1 are coordinately upregulated during ErbB2 tumor induction. We have identified an EGR2 binding site in the erbB2 promoter and demonstrated by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays that EGR2 and CITED1 associate specifically with this region of the promoter. EGR2 and CITED1 were shown to associate, and expression from an erbB2 promoter-reporter construct was stimulated by EGR2 and was further enhanced by CITED1 coexpression. Furthermore, expression of the 14-3-3σ tumor suppressor led to downregulation of ErbB2 protein levels and relocalization of EGR2 from the nucleus to the cytoplasm. Taken together, these observations suggest that, in addition to an increased gene copy number and upregulation of EGR2 and CITED1, an elevated erbB2 transcript level involves the loss of 14-3-3σ, which sequesters a key transcriptional regulator of the erbB2 promoter.
Stat5 and Stat3, two members of the Stat (signal transducer and activator of transcription) family, are known to play critical roles in mammopoiesis/lactogenesis and involution, respectively, in the mammary gland. Phosphotyrosine phosphatase Shp2 has been shown to dephosphorylate and thus inactivate both Stat5 and Stat3 in vitro. Paradoxically, cell culture studies also suggest a positive role of Shp2 in promoting prolactin-stimulated Stat5 activation. We have shown here that selective deletion of Shp2 in mouse mammary glands suppresses Stat5 activity during pregnancy and lactation, resulting in significant impairment of lobulo-alveolar outgrowth and lactation. In contrast, Stat3 activity was slightly up-regulated shortly before/at involution, leading to normal epithelial cell apoptosis/involution in Shp2-deficient mammary gland. Thus, Shp2 acts to promote Stat5 activation by the JAK2·prolactin receptor complex, while negatively modulating Stat3 activity before the onset of involution. This is the first demonstration that Shp2 manipulates Stat5 and Stat3 activities reciprocally in mammary epithelial cells, providing novel insight into the complex mechanisms for regulation of various Stat family members by a cytoplasmic tyrosine phosphatase.
Tumor cells utilize glucose as a primary energy source and require ongoing lipid biosynthesis for growth. Expression of DecR1, an auxiliary enzyme in the fatty acid β-oxidation pathway, is significantly diminished in numerous spontaneous mammary tumor models and in primary human breast cancer. Moreover, ectopic expression of DecR1 in ErbB2/Neu-induced mammary tumor cells is sufficient to reduce levels of ErbB2/Neu expression and impair mammary tumor outgrowth. This correlates with a decreased proliferative index and reduced rates of de novo fatty acid synthesis in DecR1-expressing breast cancer cells. Although DecR1 expression does not affect glucose uptake in ErbB2/Neu-transformed cells, sustained expression of DecR1 protects mammary tumor cells from apoptotic cell death following glucose withdrawal. Moreover, expression of catalytically impaired DecR1 mutants in Neu-transformed breast cancer cells restored Neu expression levels and increased mammary tumorigenesis in vivo. These results argue that DecR1 is sufficient to limit breast cancer cell proliferation through its ability to limit the extent of oncogene expression and reduce steady-state levels of de novo fatty acid synthesis. Furthermore, DecR1-mediated suppression of tumorigenesis can be uncoupled from its effects on Neu expression. Thus, while downregulation of Neu expression may contribute to DecR1-mediated tumor suppression in certain cell types, this is not an obligate event in all Neu-transformed breast cancer cells.