Journal Article

ERα mediates alcohol-induced deregulation of Pol III genes in breast cancer cells

Qingsong Zhang, Jian Jin, Qian Zhong, Xiaoli Yu, Daniel Levy and Shuping Zhong

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 34, issue 1, pages 28-37
Published in print January 2013 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online October 2012 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI:
ERα mediates alcohol-induced deregulation of Pol III genes in breast cancer cells

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics


Show Summary Details


The association of alcohol consumption and breast cancer is more pronounced in cases that are positive for estrogen receptor (ER+) than in cases that are negative (ER−). Its mechanism remains to be determined. Deregulation of RNA polymerase III (Pol III) transcription enhances cellular tRNAs and 5S rRNA production, increasing translational capacity to promote cell transformation and tumor formation. Here, we report that alcohol increases Pol III gene transcription in both normal and cancer breast cell lines. The induction in ER+ breast cancer cells (MCF-7) is significantly higher than in ER− normal breast cells (MCF-10A, MCF-10F and MCF-12A) and is correlated with ER expression. E2 causes <2-fold increase in Pol III gene transcription. The addition of ethanol to this system now produces a 10–15-fold increase. Ethanol increases ERα expression, resulting in an increase in Brf1 protein and mRNA levels. In addition, ethanol markedly stimulates phosphorylation of JNK1, but not JNK2. Inhibition of JNK1 decreases ERE-Luc reporter activity and represses expression of ERα, Brf1 and Pol III genes. Reduction of ERα by its small interfering RNA represses Brf1 and Pol III gene transcription. Ethanol with E2 produces larger and more numerous colonies. Repression of ERα or Brf1 inhibits alcohol-induced cell transformation. Together, these results support the idea that alcohol increases ERα expression through JNK1 to elevate Brf1 expression and Pol III gene transcription to bring about greater phenotypic changes. These studies demonstrate that ERα mediates Pol III gene transcription through Brf1, suggesting that ERα may play a critical role in alcohol-induced deregulation of Pol III genes in ER+ breast cancer development.

Journal Article.  6018 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.