D J Shapiro

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, United States

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Publications (94)442.77 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Recurrent estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive breast and ovarian cancers are often therapy resistant. Using screening and functional validation, we identified BHPI, a potent noncompetitive small molecule ERα biomodulator that selectively blocks proliferation of drug-resistant ERα-positive breast and ovarian cancer cells. In a mouse xenograft model of breast cancer, BHPI induced rapid and substantial tumor regression. Whereas BHPI potently inhibits nuclear estrogen-ERα-regulated gene expression, BHPI is effective because it elicits sustained ERα-dependent activation of the endoplasmic reticulum (EnR) stress sensor, the unfolded protein response (UPR), and persistent inhibition of protein synthesis. BHPI distorts a newly described action of estrogen-ERα: mild and transient UPR activation. In contrast, BHPI elicits massive and sustained UPR activation, converting the UPR from protective to toxic. In ERα(+) cancer cells, BHPI rapidly hyperactivates plasma membrane PLCγ, generating inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3), which opens EnR IP3R calcium channels, rapidly depleting EnR Ca(2+) stores. This leads to activation of all three arms of the UPR. Activation of the PERK arm stimulates phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α), resulting in rapid inhibition of protein synthesis. The cell attempts to restore EnR Ca(2+) levels, but the open EnR IP3R calcium channel leads to an ATP-depleting futile cycle, resulting in activation of the energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase and phosphorylation of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2). eEF2 phosphorylation inhibits protein synthesis at a second site. BHPI's novel mode of action, high potency, and effectiveness in therapy-resistant tumor cells make it an exceptional candidate for further mechanistic and therapeutic exploration.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2015; 112(15). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1403685112 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    N Andruska · X Zheng · X Yang · W G Helferich · D J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: In response to cell stress, cancer cells often activate the endoplasmic reticulum (EnR) stress sensor, the unfolded protein response (UPR). Little was known about the potential role in cancer of a different mode of UPR activation, anticipatory activation of the UPR prior to accumulation of unfolded protein or cell stress. We show that estrogen, acting via estrogen receptor α (ERα), induces rapid anticipatory activation of the UPR, resulting in increased production of the antiapoptotic chaperone BiP/GRP78, preparing cancer cells for the increased protein production required for subsequent estrogen-ERα-induced cell proliferation. In ERα-containing cancer cells, the estrogen, 17β-estradiol (E2) activates the UPR through a phospholipase C γ (PLCγ)-mediated opening of EnR IP3R calcium channels, enabling passage of calcium from the lumen of the EnR into the cytosol. siRNA knockdown of ERα blocked the estrogen-mediated increase in cytosol calcium and UPR activation. Knockdown or inhibition of PLCγ, or of IP3R, strongly inhibited the estrogen-mediated increases in cytosol calcium, UPR activation and cell proliferation. E2-ERα activates all three arms of the UPR in breast and ovarian cancer cells in culture and in a mouse xenograft. Knockdown of ATF6α, which regulates UPR chaperones, blocked estrogen induction of BiP and strongly inhibited E2-ERα-stimulated cell proliferation. Mild and transient UPR activation by estrogen promotes an adaptive UPR response that protects cells against subsequent UPR-mediated apoptosis. Analysis of data from ERα(+) breast cancers demonstrates elevated expression of a UPR gene signature that is a powerful new prognostic marker tightly correlated with subsequent resistance to tamoxifen therapy, reduced time to recurrence and poor survival. Thus, as an early component of the E2-ERα proliferation program, the mitogen estrogen, drives rapid anticipatory activation of the UPR. Anticipatory activation of the UPR is a new role for estrogens in cancer cell proliferation and resistance to therapy.Oncogene advance online publication, 29 September 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.292.
    Oncogene 09/2014; DOI:10.1038/onc.2014.292 · 8.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer cell proliferation is regulated by oncogenes, such as c-Myc. An alternative approach to directly targeting individual oncogenes is to target IMP-1, an oncofetal protein that binds to and stabilizes messenger RNAs (mRNAs), leading to elevated expression of c-Myc and other oncogenes. Expression of IMP-1 is tightly correlated with a poor prognosis and reduced survival in ovarian, lung, and colon cancer. Small-molecule inhibitors of IMP-1 have not been reported. We established a fluorescence anisotropy/polarization microplate assay (FAMA) for analyzing binding of IMP-1 to a fluorescein-labeled 93 nucleotide c-Myc mRNA target (flMyc), developed the assay as a highly robust (Z' factor = 0.60) FAMA-based high-throughput screen for inhibitors of binding of IMP-1 to flMyc, and carried out a successful pilot screen of 17,600 small molecules. Our studies support rapidly filtering out toxic nonspecific inhibitors using an early cell-based assay in control cells lacking the target protein. The physiologic importance of verified hits from the in vitro high-throughput screen was demonstrated by identification of the first small-molecule IMP-1 inhibitor, a lead compound that selectively inhibits proliferation of IMP-1-positive cancer cells with very little or no effect on proliferation of IMP-1-negative cells.
    Journal of Biomolecular Screening 10/2013; 19(3). DOI:10.1177/1087057113499633 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    Xinguo Jiang · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: During different stages of tumor development the immune system can either identify and destroy tumors, or promote their growth. Therapies targeting the immune system have emerged as a promising treatment modality for breast cancer, and immunotherapeutic strategies are being examined in preclinical and clinical models. However, our understanding of the complex interplay between cells of the immune system and breast cancer cells is incomplete. In this article, we review recent findings showing how the immune system plays dual host-protective and tumor-promoting roles in breast cancer initiation and progression. We then discuss estrogen receptor α (ER α)-dependent and ER α -independent mechanisms that shield breast cancers from immunosurveillance and enable breast cancer cells to evade immune cell induced apoptosis and produce an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment. Finally, we discuss protumorigenic inflammation that is induced during tumor progression and therapy, and how inflammation promotes more aggressive phenotypes in ER α positive breast cancers.
    Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology 06/2013; 382(1). DOI:10.1016/j.mce.2013.06.003 · 4.41 Impact Factor
  • Chen Zhang · Steven K Nordeen · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogens, acting via estrogen receptor (ER) play key roles in growth, differentiation, and gene regulation in the reproductive, central nervous, and skeletal systems. ER-mediated gene transcription contributes to the development and spread of breast, uterine, and liver cancer. Steroid receptor coactivator-1a (SRC1a) belongs to the P160 family of coactivators, which is the best known of the many coactivators implicated in ER-mediated transactivation. Binding of full-length P160 coactivators to steroid receptors has been difficult to investigate in vitro. This chapter details how to investigate the interaction of SRC1a with ER using the fluorescence anisotropy/polarization microplate assay (FAMA).
    Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) 02/2013; 977:339-51. DOI:10.1007/978-1-62703-284-1_27 · 1.29 Impact Factor
  • Milu T Cherian · Elizabeth M Wilson · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: The androgen receptor (AR) has a critical role in the growth and progression of androgen-dependent and castration-resistant prostate cancers. To identify novel inhibitors of AR transactivation that block growth of prostate cancer cells, a luciferase-based high-throughput screen of ~160,000 small molecules was performed in cells stably expressing AR and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA)-luciferase reporter. CPIC (1-(3-(2-chlorophenoxy) propyl)-1H-indole-3-carbonitrile) was identified as a small molecule that blocks AR transactivation to a greater extent than other steroid receptors. CPIC inhibited AR-mediated proliferation of androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cell lines, with minimal toxicity in AR-negative cell lines. CPIC treatment also reduced the anchorage-independent growth of LAPC-4 prostate cancer cells. CPIC functioned as a pure antagonist by inhibiting the expression of AR-regulated genes in LAPC-4 cells that express wild-type AR and exhibited weak agonist activity in LNCaP cells that express the mutant AR-T877A. CPIC treatment did not reduce AR levels or alter its nuclear localization. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation to identify the site of action of CPIC. CPIC inhibited recruitment of androgen-bound AR to the PSA promoter and enhancer sites to a greater extent than bicalutamide. CPIC is a new therapeutic inhibitor that targets AR-mediated gene activation with potential to arrest the growth of prostate cancer.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2012; 287(28):23368-80. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M112.344671 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogens, acting through estrogen receptor α (ERα), stimulate breast cancer proliferation, making ERα an attractive drug target. Since 384-well format screens for inhibitors of proliferation can be challenging for some cells, inhibition of luciferase-based reporters is often used as a surrogate end point. To identify novel small-molecule inhibitors of 17β-estradiol (E(2))-ERα-stimulated cell proliferation, we established a cell-based screen for inhibitors of E(2)-ERα induction of an estrogen response element (ERE)(3)-luciferase reporter. Seventy-five "hits" were evaluated in tiered follow-up assays to identify where hits failed to progress and evaluate their effectiveness as inhibitors of E(2)-ERα-induced proliferation of breast cancer cells. Only 8 of 75 hits from the luciferase screen inhibited estrogen-induced proliferation of ERα-positive MCF-7 and T47D cells but not control ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 cells. Although 12% of compounds inhibited E(2)-ERα-stimulated proliferation in only one of the ERα-positive cell lines, 40% of compounds were toxic and inhibited growth of all the cell lines, and ~37% exhibited little or no ability to inhibit E(2)-ERα-stimulated cell proliferation. Representative compounds were evaluated in more detail, and a lead ERα inhibitor was identified.
    Journal of Biomolecular Screening 04/2012; 17(7):921-32. DOI:10.1177/1087057112442960 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The progesterone receptor (PR) plays a key role in reproduction and is important in cancers of the reproductive tract. Current PR antagonists usually compete for progestin binding in the PR ligand-binding pocket and often exhibit cross-binding with other members of the steroid receptor family. Using stably transfected cells expressing reporter genes, a set of ∼150 theophylline analogues were screened for their ability to inhibit progesterone, estrogen, glucocorticoid and androgen signaling. The structure-activity studies presented here identify branched 8-alkylthio-6-thio-substitutions of theophylline as selective PR inhibitors. 6-Thio-8-(2-ethylbutyl)thiotheophylline (51), the most extensively studied derivative, does not act by competing with progestins for binding in the ligand-binding pocket of PR. It demonstrated the ability to inhibit the mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-luciferase reporter and endogenous PR-regulated alkaline phosphatase activity in T47D breast cancer cells. Compound 51 is the lead member of a novel class of PR inhibitors that act outside the PR ligand-binding pocket, thus serving as a novel probe to investigate PR action and a lead for further development.
    Steroids 03/2012; 77(6):596-601. DOI:10.1016/j.steroids.2012.02.003 · 2.64 Impact Factor
  • David J Shapiro · Chengjian Mao · Milu T Cherian
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    ABSTRACT: Because activated estrogen (ER) and androgen (AR) receptors stimulate cell proliferation in breast and prostate cancer, inhibiting their actions represents a major therapeutic goal. Most efforts to modulate ER and AR activity have focused on inhibiting the synthesis of estrogens or androgens or on the identification of small molecules that act by competing with agonist hormones for binding in the ligand-binding pocket of the receptor. An alternative approach is to implement screens for small molecule inhibitors that target other sites in the pathway of steroid receptor action. Many of these second-site inhibitors directly target ER or AR; others have still unknown sites of action. Small molecule inhibitors that target second sites represent new leads with clinical potential; they serve as novel modulators of receptor action; and they can reveal new and as yet unidentified interactions and pathways that modulate ER and AR action.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2011; 286(6):4043-8. DOI:10.1074/jbc.R110.203026 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms responsible for 17β-estradiol (E(2))-stimulated breast cancer growth and development of resistance to tamoxifen and other estrogen receptor α (ERα) antagonists are not fully understood. We describe a new tool for dissecting ERα action in breast cancer, p-fluoro-4-(1,2,3,6,-tetrahydro-1,3-dimethyl-2-oxo-6-thionpurin-8-ylthio) (TPSF), a potent small-molecule inhibitor of estrogen receptor α that does not compete with estrogen for binding to ERα. TPSF noncompetitively inhibits estrogen-dependent ERα-mediated gene expression with little inhibition of transcriptional activity by NF-κB or the androgen or glucocorticoid receptor. TPSF inhibits E(2)-ERα-mediated induction of the proteinase inhibitor 9 gene, which is activated by ERα binding to estrogen response element DNA, and the cyclin D1 gene, which is induced by tethering ERα to other DNA-bound proteins. TPSF inhibits anchorage-dependent and anchorage-independent E(2)-ERα-stimulated growth of MCF-7 cells but does not inhibit growth of ER-negative MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells. TPSF also inhibits ERα-dependent growth in three cellular models for tamoxifen resistance; that is, 4-hydroxytamoxifen-stimulated MCF7ERαHA cells that overexpress ERα, fully tamoxifen-resistant BT474 cells that have amplified HER-2 and AIB1, and partially tamoxifen-resistant ZR-75 cells. TPSF reduces ERα protein levels in MCF-7 cells and several other cell lines without altering ERα mRNA levels. The proteasome inhibitor MG132 abolished down-regulation of ERα by TPSF. Thus, TPSF affects receptor levels at least in part due to its ability to enhance proteasome-dependent degradation of ERα. TPSF represents a novel class of ER inhibitor with significant clinical potential.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 11/2010; 285(53):41863-73. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M110.183723 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Emily Powell · Yidan Wang · David J Shapiro · Wei Xu
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    ABSTRACT: The two estrogen receptor (ER) subforms, ERalpha and ERbeta, are capable of forming DNA-binding homodimers and heterodimers. Although binding to DNA is thought to stabilize ER dimers, how ERalpha/alpha, ERbeta/beta, and ERalpha/beta dimerization is regulated by DNA and the chaperone protein Hsp90 is poorly understood. Using our highly optimized bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays in conjunction with assays for transcriptional activation of ERs, we determined that DNA binding appears to play a minor role in the stabilization of ER dimers, especially in the case of ERbeta/beta homodimers. These findings suggest that ER dimers form before they associate with chromatin and that DNA binding plays a minor role in stabilizing ER dimers. Additionally, although Hsp90 is essential for the proper dimerization of ERalpha/alpha and ERalpha/beta, it is not required for the proper dimerization of ERbeta/beta. Despite this, Hsp90 is critical for the estrogen-dependent transcriptional activity of the ERbeta/beta homodimer. Thus, Hsp90 is implicated as an important regulator of distinct aspects of ERalpha and ERbeta action.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(21):16125-34. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M110.104356 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The risks and benefits of diets and supplements containing the estrogenic soy isoflavone genistein are not well established. We report that 10 nm genistein potently induces the granzyme B inhibitor, proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. By inducing PI-9, genistein inhibits the ability of human natural killer (NK) cells to lyse the target breast cancer cells. In ERalphaHA cells, stably transfected MCF-7 cells, which contain elevated levels of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha), 100 pm genistein or 17beta-estradiol potently induce PI-9 and prevent NK cells from killing the target breast cancer cells. The concentrations of genistein that fully induce PI-9 in MCF-7 cells, and in ERalphaHA cells, are far lower than those previously reported to elicit estrogenic responses through ERalpha. Because 4-hydroxytamoxifen, raloxifene, and ICI 182,780/Faslodex all block genistein induction of PI-9 and elevated levels of ERalpha enhance induction of PI-9, genistein acts via ERalpha to induce PI-9. Increasing levels of ERalpha in breast cancer cells results in a progressive increase in induction of PI-9 by genistein and in the cell's ability to evade killing by NK cells. Moderate levels of dietary genistein and soy flour effectively induce PI-9 in human breast cancers grown in ovariectomized athymic mice. A significant population consumes levels of genistein in soy products that may be high enough to induce PI-9, perhaps potentiating the survival of some preexisting breast cancers by enabling them to evade immunosurveillance.
    Endocrinology 08/2008; 149(11):5366-73. DOI:10.1210/en.2008-0857 · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) plays an important role in several human cancers. Most current ERalpha antagonists bind in the receptor ligand binding pocket and compete for binding with estrogenic ligands. Instead of the traditional approach of targeting estrogen binding to ER, we describe a strategy using a high throughput fluorescence anisotropy microplate assay to identify small molecule inhibitors of ERalpha binding to consensus estrogen response element (cERE) DNA. We identified small molecule inhibitors of ERalpha binding to the fluorescein-labeled (fl)cERE and evaluated their specificity, potency, and efficacy. One small molecule, theophylline, 8-[(benzylthio)methyl]-(7CI,8CI) (TPBM), inhibited ERalpha binding to the flcERE (IC(50) approximately 3 microm) and inhibited ERalpha-mediated transcription of a stably transfected ERE-containing reporter gene. Inhibition by TPBM was ER-specific, because progesterone and glucocorticoid receptor transcriptional activity were not significantly inhibited. In tamoxifen-resistant breast cancer cells that overexpress ERalpha, TPBM inhibited 17beta-estradiol (E(2))-ERalpha (IC(50) 9 microm) and 4-hydroxytamoxifen-ERalpha-mediated gene expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed TPBM reduced E(2).ERalpha recruitment to an endogenous estrogen-responsive gene. TPBM inhibited E(2)-dependent growth of ERalpha-positive cancer cells (IC(50) of 5 microm). TPBM is not toxic to cells and does not affect estrogen-independent cell growth. TPBM acts outside of the ER ligand binding pocket, does not act by chelating the zinc in ER zinc fingers, and differs from known ERalpha inhibitors. Using a simple high throughput screen for inhibitors of ERalpha binding to the cERE, a small molecule inhibitor has been identified that selectively inhibits ERalpha-mediated gene expression and estrogen-dependent growth of cancer cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2008; 283(19):12819-30. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M709936200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
  • Jingwei Cheng · Chen Zhang · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: To evaluate the contribution of ERK1/2 phosphorylation of estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha to activation and repression of endogenous genes, we produced stably transfected lines of HeLa cells with functional ERK1/2 pathways that express similar levels of wild-type human ERalpha and ERalpha mutated to inactivate the well-known MAPK site at serine 118 (ERalphaS118A). We compared effects of the S118A mutation on 17beta-estradiol (E(2))-mediated transactivation, which is heavily dependent on activation function (AF) 2 of ERalpha and on 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT)-mediated transactivation, which is heavily dependent on AF1, which includes S118. To examine whether S118 was the key ERK/MAPK phosphorylation site in ERalpha action, we compared the effects of the S118A mutant and the ERK inhibitor U0126 on expression of endogenous genes. In several estrogen response element-containing genes, the S118A mutation strongly reduced induction by E(2), and U0126 did not further reduce expression. Expression of another group of estrogen response element-containing genes was largely unaffected by the S118A mutation. The S118A mutation had variable effects on genes induced by ER tethering or binding near specificity protein-1 and activator protein-1 sites. For five mRNAs whose expression is strongly down-regulated by E(2) and partially or completely down-regulated by OHT, the S118A mutation reduced or abolished down-regulation by E(2) and nearly abolished down-regulation by OHT. In contrast, for Sma and mothers against decapentaplegic-3-related, which is down-regulated by E(2) and not OHT, the S118A mutation had little effect. These data suggest that there may be distinct groups of genes down-regulated by ERalpha and suggest a novel role for ERK phosphorylation at serine 118 in AF1 in regulating expression of the set of genes down-regulated by OHT.
    Endocrinology 11/2007; 148(10):4634-41. DOI:10.1210/en.2007-0148 · 4.50 Impact Factor
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    Jian-Hua Zhou · David V Yu · Jingwei Cheng · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Tamoxifen (Tam), and its active metabolite, 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT), compete with estrogens for binding to the estrogen receptor (ER). Tam and OHT can also induce ER-dependent apoptosis of cancer cells. 10-100nM OHT induces ER-dependent apoptosis in approximately 3 days. Using HeLaER6 cells, we examined the role of OHT activation of signal transduction pathways in OHT-ER-mediated apoptosis. OHT-ER activated the p38, JNK and ERK1/2 pathways. Inhibition of p38 activation with SB203580, or RNAi-knockdown of p38alpha, moderately reduced OHT-ER mediated cell death. A JNK inhibitor partly reduced cell death. Surprisingly, the MEK1/2 inhibitor, PD98059, completely blocked OHT-ER induced apoptosis. EGF, an ERK1/2 activator, enhanced OHT-induced apoptosis. OHT induced a delayed and persistent phosphorylation of ERK1/2 that persisted for >80h. Addition of PD98059 as late as 24h after OHT largely blocked OHT-ER mediated apoptosis. The antagonist, ICI 182,780, blocked both the long-term OHT-mediated phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and OHT-induced apoptosis. Our data suggests that the p38 and JNK pathways, which often play a central role in apoptosis, have only a limited role in OHT-ER-mediated cell death. Although rapid activation of the ERK1/2 pathway is often associated with cell growth, persistent activation of the ERK1/2 pathway is essential for OHT-ER induced cell death.
    Steroids 11/2007; 72(11-12):765-77. DOI:10.1016/j.steroids.2007.06.007 · 2.64 Impact Factor
  • Jingwei Cheng · David V Yu · Jian-Hua Zhou · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Low concentrations of tamoxifen or its active metabolite 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT) induce estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-dependent apoptosis. To analyze the pathway of OHT-ERalpha-induced apoptosis, we developed stably transfected lines of HeLa cells expressing wild-type ER and an inactive mutant ERalpha unable to bind estrogen response elements. HeLa cells expressing the mutant ERalpha and HeLa cells expressing wild-type ERalpha in which the ER was knocked down with an ER-specific small interfering RNA were not killed by Tam or OHT, suggesting that estrogen response element-mediated transcription is required for Tam- and OHT-induced apoptosis. Microarray analysis to identify a gene(s) whose expression is important in OHT-ER-mediated apoptosis identified 19 mRNAs that OHT up-regulated by >1.6-fold and 15 down-regulated mRNAs. Gene function and the time course of induction by OHT-ERalpha led us to further investigate CCAAT enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBPalpha), which has roles in cell cycle progression and apoptosis, and p21. Quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, Western blot analysis, and RNA interference knockdown suggest that cell cycle arrest resulting from OHT-ERalpha induction of p21 may facilitate apoptosis. OHT-ERalpha, but not E2-ERalpha, induced C/EBPalpha mRNA and protein. RNA interference knockdown of C/EBPalpha nearly abolished OHT-ERalpha-induced apoptosis. We isolated stable cell lines that were resistant to OHT-induced apoptosis, contain full-length functional ERalpha, and undergo apoptosis in response to etoposide. In these OHT-resistant cell lines both before and after OHT treatment, C/EBPalpha levels are much lower than in OHT-sensitive cells. These studies establish a novel molecular site responsible for Tam- and OHT-ERalpha-induced apoptosis of cancer cells.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2007; 282(42):30535-43. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M704829200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    X Jiang · S J Ellison · E T Alarid · D J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Estrogens promote cell proliferation and metastases in several human cancers. Here, we describe a different action of estrogens likely to contribute to tumor development-blocking immunosurveillance. In breast cancer cells, increasing concentrations of estrogen induce increasing levels of the granzyme B inhibitor, SerpinB9/proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9) and progressively block cell death induced by NK92 natural killer (NK) cells, but do not block killing by a second NK cell line, NKL cells. RNA interference knockdown of PI-9 abolishes estrogen's ability to block NK92 cell-induced cytotoxicity. Expressing elevated levels of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) increases the induced level of PI-9, and makes tamoxifen (TAM), but not raloxifene or ICI 182,780, a potent inducer of PI-9. At elevated levels of ERalpha, induction of PI-9 by estradiol or TAM blocks killing by both NK92 and NKL cells. When the Erk pathway is activated with epidermal growth factor, the concentration of estrogen required to induce a protective level of PI-9 is reduced to 10 pM. Elevated concentrations of estrogen and ER may provide a dual selective advantage to breast cancer cells by controlling PI-9 levels and thereby blocking immunosurveillance. Expressing elevated levels of ERalpha reveals a potentially important difference in the effects of TAM, raloxifene and ICI 182,780 on immunosurveillance in breast cancer.
    Oncogene 07/2007; 26(28):4106-14. DOI:10.1038/sj.onc.1210197 · 8.46 Impact Factor
  • Stanley Wang · Chen Zhang · Steven K Nordeen · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Binding of full-length P160 coactivators to hormone response element-steroid receptor complexes has been difficult to investigate in vitro. Here, we report a new application of our recently described fluorescence anisotropy microplate assay to investigate binding and dissociation of full-length steroid receptor coactivator-1a (SRC1a) from full-length estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) or estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) bound to a fluorescein-labeled (fl) estrogen response element (ERE). SRC1a exhibited slightly higher affinity binding to flERE.ERbeta than to flERE.ERalpha. Binding of SRC1a to flERE.ERalpha and to flERE.ERbeta was 17beta-estradiol (E2)-dependent and was nearly absent when ICI 182,780, raloxifene, or 4-hydroxytamoxifen were bound to the ERs. SRC1a binds to flERE.E2-ERalpha and flERE.E2-ERbeta complexes with a t1/2 of 15-20 s. Short LXXLL-containing nuclear receptor (NR) box peptides from P160 coactivators competed much better for SRC1a binding to flERE.E2-ER than an NR box peptide from TRAP220. However, approximately 40-250-fold molar excess of the P160 NR box peptides was required to inhibit SRC1a binding by 50%. This suggests that whereas the NR box region is a primary site of interaction between SRC1a and ERE.E2-ER, additional contacts between the coactivator and the ligand-receptor-DNA complex make substantial contributions to overall affinity. Increasing amounts of NR box peptides greatly enhanced the rate of dissociation of SRC1a from preformed flERE.E2-ER complexes. The data support a model in which coactivator exchange is facilitated by active displacement and is not simply the result of passive dissociation and replacement. It also shows that an isolated coactivator exhibits an inherent capacity for rapid exchange.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2007; 282(5):2765-75. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M607531200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    Thomas D Cunningham · Xinguo Jiang · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9, SerpinB9) is the only known human intracellular granzyme B inhibitor. Whether expression of PI-9 is sufficient to block cytolysis induced by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells remains controversial. To evaluate the roles of PI-9, we isolated and tested three lines of stably transfected HeLa cells expressing wild-type PI-9 and one line expressing an inactive mutant PI-9. Expressions of wild-type PI-9, but not the inactive mutant PI-9, inhibited cytolysis induced by human NK92 and NKL natural killer cells. Expression of high levels of PI-9 is therefore sufficient to protect human cells against NK cell-mediated cell death. Using two assays, we show that expressing wild-type PI-9, but not the inactive mutant PI-9, blocks Fas/Fas ligand (Fas/FasL)-mediated apoptosis. PI-9 expression has no effect on etoposide-induced apoptosis. HeLa cells exhibiting substantial resistance to Fas/FasL-mediated apoptosis contain 2- to 3-fold higher PI-9 levels than HCT116 human colon cancer cells and 2- to 3-fold lower PI-9 levels than MCF7/ERHA breast cancer cells, in which PI-9 is strongly induced by estrogens, and by tamoxifen. Expression of increasing levels of PI-9 in target cells may progressively inhibit immune surveillance by blocking NK and CTL-induced cytotoxicity through the perforin/granzyme pathway and then through the Fas/FasL pathway.
    Cellular Immunology 02/2007; 245(1):32-41. DOI:10.1016/j.cellimm.2007.03.004 · 1.92 Impact Factor
  • Xinguo Jiang · Brent A Orr · David M Kranz · David J Shapiro
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to estrogens is associated with an increased risk of developing breast, cervical, and liver cancer. Estrogens strongly induce the human granzyme B inhibitor, proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9). Because cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and natural killer (NK) cells use the granzyme pathway to induce apoptosis of target cells, we tested the ability of activated CTLs and the human NK cell line, YT cells, to lyse human liver cells. Estrogen induction of PI-9 protected the liver cells against CTL and NK cell-mediated, granzyme-dependent, apoptosis. Knockdown of PI-9 by RNA interference blocked the protective effect of estrogen. This work demonstrates that estrogens can act on target cells to control their destruction by immune system cells and shows that induction of PI-9 expression can inhibit both CTL and NK cell-mediated apoptosis. Estrogen induction of PI-9 may reduce the ability of cytolytic lymphocytes-mediated immune surveillance to destroy newly transformed cells, possibly providing a novel mechanism for an estrogen-mediated increase in tumor incidence.
    Endocrinology 04/2006; 147(3):1419-26. DOI:10.1210/en.2005-0996 · 4.50 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
442.77 Total Impact Points


  • 1979–2015
    • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
      • • Department of Biochemistry
      • • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
      Urbana, Illinois, United States
  • 1986
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States