Research Papers:

ERβ regulation of NF-κB activation in prostate cancer is mediated by HIF-1

Paul Mak _, Jiarong Li, Sanjoy Samanta and Arthur M. Mercurio

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:40247-40254. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5377

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Paul Mak1, Jiarong Li1, Sanjoy Samanta1, Arthur M. Mercurio1

1Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA

Correspondence to:

Arthur M. Mercurio, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: estrogen receptor beta, HIF-1, NFkB, prostate

Received: June 30, 2015     Accepted: September 21, 2015     Published: October 02, 2015


We examined the regulation of NF-κB in prostate cancer by estrogen receptor β (ERβ) based on the inverse correlation between p65 and ERβ expression that exists in prostate carcinomas and reports that ERβ can inhibit NF-κB activation, although the mechanism is not known. We demonstrate that ERβ functions as a gate-keeper for NF-κB p65 signaling by repressing its expression and nuclear translocation. ERβ regulation of NF-κB signaling is mediated by HIF-1. Loss of ERβ or hypoxia stabilizes HIF-1α, which we found to be a direct driver of IKKβ transcription through a hypoxia response element present in the promoter of the IKKβ gene. The increase of IKKβ expression in ERβ-ablated cells correlates with an increase in phospho-IκBα and concomitant p65 nuclear translocation. An inverse correlation between the expression of ERβ and IKKβ/p65 was also observed in the prostates of ERβ knockout (BERKO) mice, Gleason grade 5 prostate tumors and analysis of prostate cancer databases. These findings provide a novel mechanism for how ERβ prevents NF-κB activation and raise the exciting possibility that loss of ERβ expression is linked to chronic inflammation in the prostate, which contributes to the development of high-grade prostate cancer.

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