FOXA1 is an essential determinant of ERalpha expression and mammary ductal morphogenesis.
ABSTRACT FOXA1, estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and GATA3 independently predict favorable outcome in breast cancer patients, and their expression correlates with a differentiated, luminal tumor subtype. As transcription factors, each functions in the morphogenesis of various organs, with ERalpha and GATA3 being established regulators of mammary gland development. Interdependency between these three factors in breast cancer and normal mammary development has been suggested, but the specific role for FOXA1 is not known. Herein, we report that Foxa1 deficiency causes a defect in hormone-induced mammary ductal invasion associated with a loss of terminal end bud formation and ERalpha expression. By contrast, Foxa1 null glands maintain GATA3 expression. Unlike ERalpha and GATA3 deficiency, Foxa1 null glands form milk-producing alveoli, indicating that the defect is restricted to expansion of the ductal epithelium, further emphasizing the novel role for FOXA1 in mammary morphogenesis. Using breast cancer cell lines, we also demonstrate that FOXA1 regulates ERalpha expression, but not GATA3. These data reveal that FOXA1 is necessary for hormonal responsiveness in the developing mammary gland and ERalpha-positive breast cancers, at least in part, through its control of ERalpha expression.
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ABSTRACT: The genetic analysis of the Foxa genes in both total and conditional mutant mice has clearly established that organogenesis of multiple systems is controlled by this subfamily of winged helix transcription factors. These discoveries followed the establishment of the conceptional framework of the mechanism of action of the FoxA proteins as 'pioneer factors' that can engage chromatin before other transcription factors. Recent molecular and genomic studies have also shown that FoxA proteins can facilitate binding of several nuclear receptors to their respective targets in a context-dependent manner, greatly increasing the range and importance of FoxA factors in biology.Current opinion in genetics & development 10/2010; 20(5):527-32. · 8.99 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Hormonally regulated breast and prostate cancers are the most common cause of cancer in females and males respectively. FoxA1 acts as a pioneer factor for both androgen receptor (AR) and estrogen receptor-α (ER), dictating the binding location, and therefore function of these transcription factors. It is an essential protein for the transcriptional activity of both ER and AR, yet it has distinct roles with the two different nuclear receptors. In both malignancies, FoxA1 plays a pivotal role from early stage cancer through to drug resistant and metastatic disease. Due to this key role in mediating ER and AR function, FoxA1 is not only an attractive therapeutic target but could potentially function as a novel biomarker.Frontiers in Endocrinology 01/2012; 3:68.
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ABSTRACT: Tumors that express estrogen receptor alpha (ERα+) comprise 75% of breast cancers in women. While treatments directed against this receptor have successfully lowered mortality rates, many primary tumors initially or later exhibit resistance. The paucity of murine models of this "luminal" tumor subtype has hindered studies of factors that promote their pathogenesis and modulate responsiveness to estrogen-directed therapeutics. Since epidemiologic studies closely link prolactin and the development of ERα+ tumors in women, we examined characteristics of the aggressive ERα+ and ERα- carcinomas which develop in response to mammary prolactin in a murine transgenic model (neu-related lipocalin- prolactin (NRL-PRL)). To evaluate their relationship to clinical tumors, we determined phenotypic relationships among these carcinomas, other murine models of breast cancer, and features of luminal tumors in women. We examined a panel of prolactin-induced tumors for characteristics relevant to clinical tumors: histotype, ERα/progesterone receptor (PR) expression and estrogen responsiveness, Activating Protein 1 (AP-1) components, and phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (Stat5), extracellular signal regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 and AKT. We compared levels of transcripts in the ERα-associated "luminal" signature that defines this subtype of tumors in women and transcripts enriched in various mammary epithelial lineages to other well-studied genetically modified murine models of breast cancer. Finally, we used microarray analyses to compare prolactin-induced ERα+ and ERα- tumors, and examined responsiveness to estrogen and the anti-estrogen, Faslodex, in vivo. Prolactin-induced carcinomas were markedly diverse with respect to histotype, ERα/PR expression, and activated signaling cascades. They constituted a heterogeneous, but distinct group of murine mammary tumors, with molecular features of the luminal subtype of human breast cancer. In contrast to morphologically normal and hyperplastic structures in NRL-PRL females, carcinomas were insensitive to ERα-mediated signals. These tumors were distinct from mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-neu tumors, and contained elevated transcripts for factors associated with luminal/alveolar expansion and differentiation, suggesting that they arose from physiologic targets of prolactin. These features were shared by ERα+ and ERα- tumors, suggesting a common origin, although the former exhibited transcript profiles reflecting greater differentiation. Our studies demonstrate that prolactin can promote diverse carcinomas in mice, many of which resemble luminal breast cancers, providing a novel experimental model to examine the pathogenesis, progression and treatment responsiveness of this tumor subtype.Breast cancer research: BCR 01/2011; 13(1):R11. · 5.87 Impact Factor