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Stat3 is a signaling node for multiple oncogenic pathways and is therefore frequently active in breast cancer. As experimental and clinical evidence reveals that progestins are key players in controlling mammary gland tumorigenesis, we studied Stat3 participation in this event. We have previously shown that progestins induce Stat3Tyr705 phosphorylation and its transcriptional activation in breast cancer cells. In this study, we demonstrate that progestins also induce Stat3 phosphorylation at Ser727 residue, which occurs via activation of c-Src/p42/p44 MAPK pathways in murine progestin-dependent C4HD cells and in T-47D cells. Expression of a Stat3S727A vector, which carries a serine-to-alanine substitution at codon 727, shows that Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation is required for full transcriptional activation of cyclin D1 gene expression by progestins and for in vivo Stat3 recruitment on cyclin D1 promoter. Transfection of Stat3S727A in murine and human breast cancer cells abolished progestin-induced in vitro and in vivo growth. Moreover, we found a positive correlation between progesterone receptor expression and nuclear localization of Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation in breast cancer biopsies. These data highlight Stat3 phosphorylation in Ser727 residue as a nongenomic action by progestins, necessary to promote breast cancer growth.


Mercedes Tkach, Cinthia Rosemblit, Martín A Rivas, Cecilia J Proietti, María Celeste Díaz Flaqué, María Florencia Mercogliano, Wendy Beguelin, Esteban Maronna, Pablo Guzmán, Felipe G Gercovich, Ernesto Gil Deza, Patricia V Elizalde, Roxana Schillaci. p42/p44 MAPK-mediated Stat3Ser727 phosphorylation is required for progestin-induced full activation of Stat3 and breast cancer growth. Endocrine-related cancer. 2013 Apr;20(2):197-212

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PMID: 23329648

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