The estrogen receptor-α gene (ESR1) was previously identified as a direct target of the homeobox transcription factor BARX2 in MCF7 cells. Here, we show that BARX2 and ESR1 proteins bind to different ESR1 gene promoters and regulate the expression of alternatively spliced mRNAs that encode 66 and 46 kDa ESR1 protein isoforms. BARX2 increases the expression of both ESR1 isoforms; however, it has a greater effect on the 46 kDa isoform, leading to an increased ratio between the 46 and 66 kDa proteins. BARX2 also influences estrogen-dependent processes such as anchorage-independent growth and modulates the expression of the estrogen-responsive genes SOX5, RBM15, Dynein and Mortalin. In addition, BARX2 expression promotes cellular invasion and increases the expression of active matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP9). BARX2 also increases the expression of the tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase (TIMP) genes, TIMP1 and TIMP3, in cooperation with estrogen signaling. Overall, these data indicate that BARX2 and ESR1 may coordinately regulate cell growth, survival and invasion pathways that are critical to breast cancer progression.
- Breast cancer