Long chain alkylphenols are man-made compounds still present in industrial and agricultural processes. Their main use is domestic and they are widespread in household products, cleansers and cosmetics, leading to a global environmental and human contamination. These molecules are known to exert estrogen-like activities through binding to classical estrogen receptors. In vitro, they can also interact with the G-protein coupled estrogen receptor. Testicular germ cell tumor etiology and progression are proposed to be stimulated by lifelong estrogeno-mimetic exposure. We studied the transduction signaling pathways through which an alkyphenol mixture triggers testicular cancer cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Proliferation assays were monitored after exposure to a realistic mixture of 4-tert-octylphenol and 4-nonylphenol of either TCam-2 seminoma derived cells, NT2/D1 embryonal carcinoma cells or testis tumor in xenografted nude mice. Specific pharmacological inhibitors and gene-silencing strategies were used in TCam-2 cells in order to demonstrate that the alkylphenol mix triggers CREB-phosphorylation through a rapid, ERα36-PI3kinase non genomic pathway. Microarray analysis of the mixture target genes revealed that this pathway can modulate the expression of the DNA-methyltransferase-3 (Dnmt3) gene family which is involved in DNA methylation control. Our results highlight a key role for ERα36 in alkylphenol non genomic signaling in testicular germ cell tumors. Hence, ERα36-dependent control of the epigenetic status opens the way for the understanding of the link between endocrine disruptor exposure and the burden of hormone sensitive cancers. © 2013 Ajj et al.
Ajj, H., Chesnel, A., Pinel, S., Plenat, F., Flament, S., & Dumond, H. (2013). An Alkylphenol Mix Promotes Seminoma Derived Cell Proliferation through an ERalpha36-Mediated Mechanism. PLoS ONE, 8(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0061758