In selected tissues and cell lines, 17beta-estradiol (E2) regulates the expression of estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRalpha), a member of the orphan nuclear receptor family. This effect is thought to be mediated by the estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha). However in the ERalpha- and ERbeta-negative SKBR3 breast cancer cell line, physiological levels of E2 also stimulate ERRalpha expression. Here, we explored the molecular mechanism that mediates estrogen action in ER-negative breast cancer cells. We observed that E2, the ERalpha agonist, as well as the ERalpha antagonists ICI 182,780 and tamoxifen (TAM), a selective ER modulator, stimulate the transcriptional activity of the ERRalpha gene and increase the production of ERRalpha protein in SKBR3 cells. Moreover, the ERRalpha downstream target genes expression and cellular proliferation are also increased. We show further that the G protein-coupled receptor GPR30/GPER-1 (GPER-1) mediates these effects. The GPER-1 specific ligand G-1 mimics the actions of E2, ICI 182,780, and TAM on ERRalpha expression, and changing the levels of GPER-1 mRNA by overexpression or small interfering RNA knockdown affected the expression of ERRalpha accordingly. Utilizing inhibitors, we delineate a different downstream pathway for ER agonist and ER antagonist-triggered signaling through GPER-1. We also find differential histone acetylation and transcription factor recruitment at distinct nucleosomes of the ERRalpha promoter, depending on whether the cells are activated with E2 or with ER antagonists. These findings provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of GPER-1/ERRalpha-mediated signaling and may be relevant to what happens in breast cancer cells escaping inhibitory control by TAM.
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