Multiple Kinase Cascades Mediate Prolactin Signals to Activating Protein-1 in Breast Cancer Cells

Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Program, University of Wisconsin, 2015 Linden Drive, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.
Molecular Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 4.02). 01/2005; 18(12):3064-75. DOI: 10.1210/me.2004-0187
Source: PubMed


The importance of prolactin (PRL) in physiological proliferation and differentiation of the mammary gland, together with high levels of PRL receptors in breast tumors, the association of circulating PRL with incidence of breast cancer, and the recognition of locally produced PRL, point to the need for greater understanding of PRL actions in mammary disease. Although PRL has been shown to activate multiple kinase cascades in various target cells, relatively little is known of its signaling pathways in the mammary gland apart from the Janus kinase 2/ signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 pathway, particularly in tumor cells. Another potential effector is activating protein-1 (AP-1), a transcription complex that regulates processes essential for neoplastic progression, including proliferation, survival and invasion. We demonstrate that PRL activates AP-1 in MCF-7 cells, detectable at 4 h and sustained for at least 24 h. Although Janus kinase 2 and ERK1/2 are the primary mediators of PRL-induced signals, c-Src, phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase, protein kinase C, and other MAPKs contribute to maximal activity. PRL activation of these pathways leads to increased c-Jun protein and phosphorylation, JunB protein, and phosphorylation of c-Fos, elevating the levels of AP-1 complexes able to bind DNA. These active AP-1 dimers may direct expression of multiple target genes, mediating some of PRL's actions in mammary disease.

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Available from: Jennifer H Gutzman, Jun 02, 2015
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    • "PRL can also initiate other signals, including several MAP kinases, which are elevated in mammary lysates of NRL-PRL females [17], and are particularly strongly activated in some breast cancer cells lines [35]. PRL-activated MAP kinases can increase synthesis and phosphorylation of multiple Activating Protein-1 (AP-1) components, activating the AP-1 transcriptional enhancer [36]. AP-1 target genes have been shown to enhance cellular proliferation, survival, and invasion (for review, [37-39]). "
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Breast cancer research: BCR
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    • "PRL activates MAPKs, including ERK1/2, ERK5, p38 and JNK1/2 (Schwertfeger et al., 2000; Gutzman et al., 2004a). ERK1/2 are activated in response to multiple growth factors and cytokines, and elicit a myriad of effects associated with malignancy. "
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    ABSTRACT: The contributions of prolactin (PRL) to breast cancer are becoming increasingly recognized. To better understand the role for PRL in this disease, its interactions with other oncogenic growth factors and hormones must be characterized. Here, we review our current understanding of PRL crosstalk with other mammary oncogenic factors, including estrogen, epidermal growth factor (EGF) family members, and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). The ability of PRL to potentiate the actions of these targets of highly successful endocrine and molecular therapies suggests that PRL and/or its receptor (PRLR) may be an attractive therapeutic target(s). We discuss the potential benefit of PRL/PRLR-targeted therapy in combination with established therapies and implications for de novo and acquired resistance to treatment.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2009 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
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    • "Interestingly, other transcripts elevated in myoepithelial cells of DCIS lesions in women (Polyak & Hu 2005), including IGF-2, SOCS-3 and the AP-1 proteins, JunD and c-Fos, have been reported to be elevated by PRL at mammary targets (Tam et al. 2001; Brisken et al. 2002; Hovey et al. 2003; Gutzman et al. 2004b). Together, our data suggest that effects on myoepithelial cells may contribute to the oncogenic actions of PRL. "
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    ABSTRACT: Epidemiologic studies have demonstrated that increased prolactin (PRL) exposure raises the risk of invasive estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive breast cancer in women. However, the mechanism(s) whereby this occurs and the interactions with estrogen itself in this disease remain poorly understood. In order to investigate the role of ovarian hormones in the disease process, we employed a transgenic model neu-related lipocalin (NRL)-PRL in which transgenic PRL is directed to mammary epithelial cells by the PRL- and estrogen-insensitive NRL promoter, mimicking the endogenous PRL expression within the breast observed in women. This high local exposure leads to mammary lesion development and eventually carcinomas. Ovariectomy (ovx), shortly after puberty, did not alter the incidence or latency of PRL-induced mammary carcinomas, consistent with the independence of PRL from circulating estrogens as a risk factor for invasive breast cancer in women. However, chronic estrogen administration to ovx NRL-PRL females decreased the latency of both ERalpha-positive and -negative tumors. We identified multiple mechanisms that may underlie this observation. Elevated estrogen exposure cooperated with PRL to increase epithelial proliferation and myoepithelial abnormalities, increasing the incidence of preneoplastic lesions. Critical components of the extracellular matrix secreted by the myoepithelium were reduced with age, and transgenic PRL raised transcripts for tenascin-C and maspin, both associated with tumor progression and poor prognosis in subclasses of clinical breast tumors. Mammary pERK1/2 and pAkt, but not phosphorylated Stat5, were markedly elevated by local PRL. Together, these findings indicate that PRL employs multiple mechanisms to promote mammary tumorigenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2009 · Journal of Endocrinology
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