A feedback loop between BEX2 and ErbB2 mediated by c-Jun signaling in breast cancer
BEX2 is a member of brain expressed X-linked gene family that is differentially expressed in primary breast tumors. We have previously demonstrated that BEX2 expression protects breast cancer cells against mitochondrial apoptosis and G1 cell cycle arrest. In addition, we have shown that BEX2 is a c-Jun target gene and, in turn, regulates the phosphorylation of c-Jun in breast cancer cells. In our study, we investigated BEX2 protein expression in a tissue microarray cohort of 225 breast tissue samples with known clinical, pathological and biomarker information. We observed that BEX2 protein was overexpressed in ~50% of malignant breast tumors compared to only 7% of benign breast samples. Notably, BEX2 positive tumors identified a subset of breast cancers with the overexpression of ErbB2 and phosphorylated c-Jun proteins. Furthermore, using in vitro models, we demonstrated that the mechanism of this association is a functional feedback loop involving ErbB2, c-Jun and BEX2 in breast cancer cells. In this feedback loop, ErbB2 overexpression results in an induction of c-Jun and BEX2 expression. Importantly, ErbB2 induction of BEX2 expression was abrogated by a dominant-negative mutant of c-Jun, suggesting that this effect was mediated through the regulation of c-Jun signaling. In turn, the overexpression of BEX2 led to an increase in both c-Jun-mediated induction of ErbB2 and c-Jun binding to the ErbB2 promoter in MCF-7 cells. Our study suggests that BEX2 protein is overexpressed in approximately half of breast cancers and has a positive feedback loop with ErbB2 mediated by c-Jun signaling in breast cancer cells.
International Journal of Cancer
Medical and Health Sciences not elsewhere classified