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Emerging evidence has linked photoreceptor cell-specific nuclear receptor (PNR/NR2E3), an orphan nuclear hormone receptor, to human breast cancer. PNR was shown to be a transcriptional activator of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) in ERα-positive breast cancer cell lines and high-level expression of PNR correlates with favorable response of ERα-positive breast cancer patients to tamoxifen. Interestingly, gene expression microarray study shows that PNR regulates distinct genes from those regulated by ERα, suggesting that PNR could have ERα-independent functions. Herein, we investigated the function of PNR in ERα-negative breast cancer cells. Our results showed that PNR-induced cell migration and metastasis of ERα-negative breast cancer cells both in vitro and in vivo, and the effect was attributed to the upregulation of interleukin (IL)-13Rα2, a high-affinity receptor for IL-13 that regulates tumor growth, invasion and metastasis of various human cancers. Mechanistically, PNR activated transcription of IL-13Rα2 through direct recruitment to IL-13Rα2 promoter. Upon stimulation with IL-13, IL-13Rα2 increased the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 phosphorylation, which led to breast cancer migration and metastasis. The IL-13 triggered signal cascade was specific to IL-13Rα2, as the closely related IL-13Rα1 was not regulated by PNR. IL-13Rα2 is a novel tumor antigen that is overexpressed in a variety of solid tumor types. This study presents the first evidence that PNR could promote ERα-negative breast cancer metastasis through activation of IL-13Rα2-mediated signaling pathway.


Z Zhao, L Wang, W Xu. IL-13Rα2 mediates PNR-induced migration and metastasis in ERα-negative breast cancer. Oncogene. 2015 Mar 19;34(12):1596-607

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PMID: 24747967

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