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Tamoxifen acts as an oestrogen antagonist in the breast reducing cell proliferation, but in the uterus as an oestrogen agonist resulting in increased cell proliferation. Tamoxifen exerts its tissue-specific effects through the oestrogen receptors (ERalpha or ERbeta). The levels and functions of the two ERs affect the response of the target tissue to oestrogen and tamoxifen. We examined the control of ER stability in breast and uterine cell lines using western blotting and RT-PCR. In MCF-7 breast-derived cells, ERalpha and ERbeta proteins were rapidly degraded via the proteasome pathway in response to oestradiol; conversely tamoxifen stabilised both receptors. In Ishikawa uterine-derived cells, oestradiol and tamoxifen stabilised ERalpha but led to degradation of ERbeta by the proteasome pathway. Further investigations showed that oestradiol induced activation of the non-genomic ERalpha/Akt signalling pathway in MCF-7 cells. We have demonstrated that the alternative Erk signalling pathway is activated in Ishikawa cells following oestradiol treatment in the absence of an active proteasome pathway and therefore increased levels of ERbeta. In conclusion, our data have demonstrated tamoxifen or oestradiol control of ER subtype stability and that non-genomic activation of transcription pathways is cell specific.


E Horner-Glister, M Maleki-Dizaji, C J Guerin, S M Johnson, J Styles, I N H White. Influence of oestradiol and tamoxifen on oestrogen receptors-alpha and -beta protein degradation and non-genomic signalling pathways in uterine and breast carcinoma cells. Journal of molecular endocrinology. 2005 Dec;35(3):421-32

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PMID: 16326830

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