Vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 expression is down-regulated by 17beta-estradiol in MCF-7 breast cancer cells by estrogen receptor alpha/Sp proteins. Academic Article uri icon


  • 17beta-Estradiol (E2) induces and represses gene expression in breast cancer cells; however, the mechanisms of gene repression are not well understood. In this study, we show that E2 decreases vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) mRNA levels in MCF-7 cells, and this gene was used as a model for investigating pathways associated with E2-dependent gene repression. Deletion analysis of the VEGFR2 promoter indicates that the proximal GC-rich motifs at -58 and -44 are critical for the E2-dependent decreased response in MCF-7 cells. Mutation or deletion of these GC-rich elements results in loss of hormone responsiveness and shows that the -60 to -37 region of the VEGFR2 promoter is critical for both basal and hormone-dependent decreased VEGFR2 expression in MCF-7 cells. Western blot, immunofluorescent staining, RNA interference, and EMSAs support a role for Sp proteins in hormone-dependent down-regulation of VEGFR2 in MCF-7 cells, primarily through estrogen receptor (ER)alpha/Sp1 and ERalpha/Sp3 interactions with the VEGFR2 promoter. Using chromatin immuno-precipitation and transient transfection/RNA interference assays we show that the ERalpha/Sp protein-promoter interactions are accompanied by recruitment of the co-repressors SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoid and thyroid hormone receptor) and NCoR (nuclear receptor corepressor) to the promoter and that SMRT and NCoR knockdown reverse E2-mediated down-regulation of VEGFR2 expression in MCF-7 cells. This study illustrates that both SMRT and NCoR are involved in E2-dependent repression of VEGFR2 in MCF-7 cells.

published proceedings

  • Mol Endocrinol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Higgins, K. J., Liu, S., Abdelrahim, M., Vanderlaag, K., Liu, X., Porter, W., Metz, R., & Safe, S.

citation count

  • 33

complete list of authors

  • Higgins, Kelly J||Liu, Shengxi||Abdelrahim, Maen||Vanderlaag, Kathryn||Liu, Xinyi||Porter, Weston||Metz, Richard||Safe, Stephen

publication date

  • February 2008