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Breast Cancer Res March 4, 2011; 13 (2): R23.

Alternative TFAP2A isoforms have distinct activities in breast cancer.

Berlato C , Chan KV , Price AM , Canosa M , Scibetta AG , Hurst HC .

AP-2α is a transcription factor implicated in the regulation of differentiation and proliferation in certain tissues, including the mammary gland. In breast tumours, continued expression of AP-2α has been correlated with a better prognosis, but this is hard to reconcile with a reported role in the upregulation of the ERBB2 oncogene. The existence of TFAP2A isoforms, deriving from alternative first exons and differing in their N-terminal sequence, has been described in some mammals, but their relative abundance and activity has not been investigated in the human breast. Expression levels of four TFAP2A isoforms were assayed at the level of RNA and protein (via the generation of isoform-specific antibodies) in a panel of breast tumour cell lines and in tissue from normal breast and primary tumour samples. Expression constructs for each isoform were used in reporter assays with synthetic and natural promoters (cyclin D3 and ERBB2) to compare the activation and repression activity of the isoforms. We demonstrate that the two isoforms AP-2α 1b and AP-2α 1c, in addition to the originally cloned, AP-2α 1a, are conserved throughout evolution in vertebrates. Moreover, we show that isoform 1c in particular is expressed at levels at least on a par with the 1a isoform in breast epithelial lines and tissues and may be more highly expressed in tamoxifen resistant tumours. The isoforms share a similar transactivation mechanism involving the recruitment of the adaptors CITED2 or 4 and the transactivators p300 or CBP. However, isoform 1b and 1c are stronger transactivators of the ERBB2 promoter than isoform 1a. In contrast, AP-2α 1a is the only isoform able to act as a repressor, an activity that requires an intact sumoylation motif present within the N-terminus of the protein, and which the other two isoforms lack. Our findings suggest that TFAP2A isoforms may be differentially regulated during breast tumourigenesis and this, coupled with differences in their transcriptional activity, may impact on tumour responses to tamoxifen therapy. These data also have implications for the interpretation of tumour studies that seek to correlate outcomes with TFAP2A expression level.

PubMed ID: 21375726
PMC ID: PMC3219183
Article link: Breast Cancer Res
Grant support: [+]

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: actl6a cited2 crebbp dio3 ep300 erbb2 hrg pprc1 sumo1 tfap2a tfap2b tfap2d tfap2e ube2i

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References [+] :
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