Category Archives: Systems Biology

Long-Term Administration of Conjugated Estrogen and Bazedoxifene Decreased Murine Fecal β-Glucuronidase Activity Without Impacting Overall Microbiome Community

Conjugated estrogens (CE) and Bazedoxifene (BZA) combination is used to alleviate menopause-associated symptoms in women. CE+BZA undergo first-pass-metabolism in the liver and deconjugation by gut microbiome via β-glucuronidase (GUS) enzyme inside the distal gut. To date, the impact of long-term exposure to CE+BZA on the gut microbiome or GUS activity has not been examined. Our study using an ovariectomized mouse model showed that CE+BZA administration did not affect the overall cecal or fecal microbiome community except that it decreased the abundance of Akkermansia, which was identified as a fecal biomarker correlated with weight gain. The fecal GUS activity was reduced significantly and was positively correlated with the abundance of Lactobacillaceae in the fecal microbiome. We further confirmed in Escherichia coli K12 and Lactobacillus gasseri ADH that Tamoxifen-, 4-hydroxy-Tamoxifen- and Estradiol-Glucuronides competed for GUS activity. Our study for the first time demonstrated that long-term estrogen supplementation directly modulated gut microbial GUS activity. Our findings implicate that long-term estrogen supplementation impacts composition of gut microbiota and microbial activity, which affects estrogen metabolism in the gut. Thus, it is possible to manipulate such activity to improve the efficacy and safety of long-term administered estrogens for postmenopausal women or breast cancer patients. PMID: 29802368

Bazedoxifene and conjugated estrogen combination maintains metabolic homeostasis and benefits liver health

The bazedoxifene and conjugated estrogens (CE+BZA) combination has been shown to prevent visceral adiposity and weight gain after ovariectomy. However, its impact on the liver transcriptomes associated with prevention of hepatosteatosis is yet to be determined. In the present study, we use liver transcriptomics and plasma metabolomics analysis to characterize the effects of various estrogens on liver. The CE+BZA combination was very effective at preventing ovariectomy-induced weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). In CE+BZA treated animals, liver weight and hepatic lipid deposition were significantly lower than in Vehicle (Veh) treated animals. Additionally, CE+BZA induced unique liver transcriptome and plasma metabolome profiles compared to estradiol, conjugated estrogens alone, and bazedoxifene alone. Blood plasma metabolite analysis identified several metabolites similar to and distinct from other estrogen treatments. Integrated pathway analysis showed that gene networks that were associated with inflammation, reactive oxygen species pathway and lipid metabolism and their relevant metabolites were regulated significantly by CE+BZA treatment. Thus, long-term CE+BZA treatment modulated hepatic metabolic gene networks and their associated metabolites and improves hepatic health without stimulating the uterus. PMID:29267318

Estrogens and female liver health

Due to declining estrogen levels during menopause, NAFLD prevalence is higher in postmenopausal women compared to in premenopausal women or in men. Postmenopausal women are more susceptible to weight gain, fat redistribution and dyslipidemia, all major hallmarks of metabolic syndrome associated with increased NAFLD risk. Gut microbiota plays important roles in development of gastrointestinal tract, metabolism and immunity. Host-microbe interactions allows regulation of a wide range of pathways that affect healthy and diseased physiology. Recent advances in – omics technologies, such as microbiome, transcriptome and metabolome analysis, provided evidence that estrogens and intestinal microbiota (IM) can collectively influence obesity, inflammatory disease, diabetes, and cancers. By understanding underlying mechanisms of estrogens and microbiota crosstalk, we might design dietary and pharmacological interventions to alleviate the metabolic syndrome and NAFLD. PMID:29100781

ERα-XPO1 crosstalk controls tamoxifen sensitivity in tumors by altering ERK5 cellular localization

Most breast cancer deaths occur in women with recurrent, ERα (+), metastatic tumors. There is a critical need for therapeutic approaches that include novel, targetable mechanism-based strategies by which ERα (+) tumors can be resensitized to endocrine therapies. The objective of this study was to validate a group of nuclear transport genes as potential biomarkers to predict risk of endocrine therapy failure, and to evaluate the inhibition of XPO1, one of these genes as a novel means to enhance the effectiveness of endocrine therapies. Using advanced statistical methods, we found that expression levels of several of nuclear transport genes including XPO1 were associated with poor survival and predicted recurrence of tamoxifen-treated breast tumors in human breast cancer gene expression data sets. In mechanistic studies we showed that the expression of XPO1 determined the cellular localization of the key signalling proteins and the response to tamoxifen. We demonstrated that combined targeting of XPO1 and ERα in several tamoxifen resistant cell lines and tumor xenografts with XPO1 inhibitor, Selinexor (SXR) and tamoxifen restored tamoxifen sensitivity and prevented recurrence in vivo. The nuclear transport pathways have not previously been implicated in the development of endocrine resistance, and given the need for better strategies for selecting patients to receive endocrine modulatory reagents and improving therapy response of relapsed ERα(+) tumors, our findings show great promise for uncovering the role these pathways play in reducing cancer recurrences. Link

Design of pathway preferential estrogens that provide beneficial metabolic and vascular effects without stimulating reproductive tissues

There is great medical need for estrogens with favorable pharmacological profiles that support desirable activities for menopausal women, such as metabolic and vascular protection, but that lack stimulatory activities on the breast and uterus. We report the development of structurally novel estrogens that preferentially activate a subset of estrogen receptor (ER) signaling pathways and result in favorable target tissue–selective activity. Through a process of structural alteration of estrogenic ligands that was designed to preserve their essential chemical and physical features but greatly reduced their binding affinity for ERs, we obtained “pathway preferential estrogens” (PaPEs), which interacted with ERs to activate the extranuclear-initiated signaling pathway preferentially over the nuclear-initiated pathway. PaPEs elicited a pattern of gene regulation and cellular and biological processes that did not stimulate reproductive and mammary tissues or breast cancer cells. However, in ovariectomized mice, PaPEs triggered beneficial responses both in metabolic tissues (adipose tissue and liver) that reduced body weight gain and fat accumulation and in the vasculature that accelerated repair of endothelial damage. This process of designed ligand structure alteration represents a novel approach to develop ligands that shift the balance in ER-mediated extranuclear and nuclear pathways to obtain tissue-selective, non-nuclear PaPEs, which may be beneficial for postmenopausal hormone replacement. The approach may also have broad applicability for other members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. PMID: 27221711

Transcriptomic analysis identifies gene networks regulated by estrogen receptor α (ERα) and ERβ that control distinct effects of different botanical estrogens. Gong P, Madak-Erdogan Z, Li J1, Cheng J1, Greenlief CM1, Helferich WG, Katzenellenbogen JA, Katzenellenbogen B. Nucl Recept Signal. 2014 Sep 12;12S

The estrogen receptors (ERs) ERα and ERβ mediate the actions of endogenous estrogens as well as those of botanical estrogens (BEs) present in plants. BEs are ingested in the diet and also widely consumed by postmenopausal women as dietary supplements, often as a substitute for the loss of endogenous estrogens at menopause. However, their activities and efficacies, and similarities and differences in gene expression programs with respect to endogenous estrogens such as estradiol (E2) are not fully understood. Because gene expression patterns underlie and control the broad physiological effects of estrogens, we have investigated and compared the gene networks that are regulated by different BEs and by E2. Our aim was to determine if the soy and licorice BEs control similar or different gene expression programs and to compare their gene regulations with that of E2. Gene expression was examined by RNA-Seq in human breast cancer (MCF7) cells treated with control vehicle, BE or E2. These cells contained three different complements of ERs, ERα only, ERα+ERβ, or ERβ only, reflecting the different ratios of these two receptors in different human breast cancers and in different estrogen target cells. Using principal component, hierarchical clustering, and gene ontology and interactome analyses, we found that BEs regulated many of the same genes as did E2. The genes regulated by each BE, however, were somewhat different from one another, with some genes being regulated uniquely by each compound. The overlap with E2 in regulated genes was greatest for the soy isoflavones genistein and S-equol, while the greatest difference from E2 in gene expression pattern was observed for the licorice root BE liquiritigenin. The gene expression pattern of each ligand depended greatly on the cell background of ERs present. Despite similarities in gene expression pattern with E2, the BEs were generally less stimulatory of genes promoting proliferation and were more pro-apoptotic in their gene regulations than E2. The distinctive patterns of gene regulation by the individual BEs and E2 may underlie differences in the activities of these soy and licorice-derived BEs in estrogen target cells containing different levels of the two ERs. PMID:25363786

The forkhead transcription factor FOXM1 promotes endocrine resistance and invasiveness in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer by expansion of stem-like cancer cells.Bergamaschi, A., Madak-Erdogan, Z., Kim Y., Choi Y.L., Lu H. and Katzenellenbogen, B.S. , Breast Cancer Res. 2014 Sep 12;16(5):436.

The forkhead transcription factor FOXM1 coordinates expression of cell cycle-related genes and plays a pivotal role in tumorigenesis and cancer progression. We previously showed that FOXM1 acts downstream of 14-3-3¿ signaling, the elevation of which correlates with a more aggressive tumor phenotype. However, the role that FOXM1 might play in engendering resistance to endocrine treatments in estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) patients when tumor FOXM1 is high, has not been clearly defined.MethodsWe analyzed FOXM1 protein expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in 501 ER-positive breast cancers. We also mapped genome-wide FOXM1, extracellular-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2) and ER¿ binding events by chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), in hormone-sensitive and resistant breast cancer cells after tamoxifen treatment. These binding profiles were integrated with gene expression data from cells before and after FOXM1 knockdown to highlight specific FOXM1 transcriptional networks. We also modulated the levels of FOXM1 and newly discovered FOXM1-regulated genes and examined their impact on the cancer stem-like cell population, and on cell invasiveness and resistance to endocrine treatments.ResultsFOXM1 protein expression was high in 20% of the tumors, and this correlated with a significantly reduced survival in these patients (P¿=¿0.003, log rank Mantel-Cox). ChIP-seq analyses revealed that FOXM1 binding sites were enriched at the transcription start site of genes involved in cell cycle progression, maintenance of stem cell properties, and invasion and metastasis, which are all associated with a poor prognosis in ER¿-positive patients treated with tamoxifen. Integration of binding profiles with gene expression highlighted FOXM1 transcriptional networks controlling cell proliferation, stem cell properties, invasion and metastasis. Increased expression of FOXM1 was associated with an expansion of the cancer stem-like cell population and with increased cell invasiveness and resistance to endocrine treatments. Use of a selective FOXM1 inhibitor proved very effective in restoring endocrine therapy sensitivity and decreasing breast cancer aggressiveness.ConclusionsCollectively, our findings uncover novel roles for FOXM1 and FOXM1-regulated genes in promoting cancer stem-like cell properties and therapy resistance, and highlight the relevance of FOXM1 as a therapeutic target to be considered for reducing invasiveness and enhancing breast cancer response to endocrine treatments. PMID:25213081

Novel Roles for ERK5 and Cofilin as Critical Mediators Linking ERalpha-Driven Transcription, Actin Reorganization and Invasiveness in Breast Cancer.Madak-Erdogan Z., Ventrella R, Petry L., Katzenellenbogen BS , Molecular Cancer Research, 2014 May;12(5):714-27,

Cancer cell motility and invasiveness are fundamental characteristics of the malignant phenotype and are regulated through diverse signaling networks involving kinases and transcription factors. This study establishes an estrogen receptor (ERα)/MAPK (ERK5)/cofilin (CFL1) network that specifies the degree of breast cancer cell aggressiveness through coupling of actin reorganization and hormone receptor–mediated transcription. Using dominant negative and constitutively active forms, as well as small-molecule inhibitors of extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK)5 and MAP–ERK kinase (MEK)5, it was revealed that hormone activation of ERα determined the subcellular localization of ERK5, which functions as a coregulator of ERα-dependent gene transcription. Notably, ERK5 acted in concert with the actin remodeling protein, CFL1, and upon hormone exposure, both localized to active nuclear transcriptional hubs as verified by immunofluorescence and proximity ligation assays. Both ERK5 and CFL1 facilitated PAF1 recruitment to the RNA Pol II complex and both were required for regulation of gene transcription. In contrast, in cells lacking ERα, ERK5 and CFL1 localized to cytoplasmic membrane regions of high actin remodeling, promoting cell motility and invasion, thereby revealing a mechanism likely contributing to the generally poorer prognosis of patients with ERα-negative breast cancer. Thus, this study uncovers the dynamic interplay of nuclear receptor–mediated transcription and actin reorganization in phenotypes of breast cancer aggressiveness.PMID: 24505128

Integrative Genomics of Gene and Metabolic Regulation by Estrogen Receptors α and β and Coregulators, Madak-Erdogan Z, Charn T.H, Jiang Y, Liu E.T., Katzenellenbogen J.A., Katzenellenbogen B.S.Molecular Systems Biology 2013 Jun 18;9:676,

The closely related transcription factors (TFs), estrogen receptors ERα and ERβ, regulate divergent gene expression programs and proliferative outcomes in breast cancer. Utilizing breast cancer cells with ERα, ERβ, or both receptors as a model system to define the basis for differing response specification by related TFs, we show that these TFs and their key coregulators, SRC3 and RIP140, generate overlapping as well as unique chromatin-binding and transcription-regulating modules. Cistrome and transcriptome analyses and the use of clustering algorithms delineated 11 clusters representing different chromatin-bound receptor and coregulator assemblies that could be functionally associated through enrichment analysis with distinct patterns of gene regulation and preferential coregulator usage, RIP140 with ERβ and SRC3 with ERα. The receptors modified each other’s transcriptional effect, and ERβ countered the proliferative drive of ERα through several novel mechanisms associated with specific binding-site clusters. Our findings delineate distinct TF-coregulator assemblies that function as control nodes, specifying precise patterns of gene regulation, proliferation, and metabolism, as exemplified by two of the most important nuclear hormone receptors in human breast cancer. PMID: 23774759

Genomic Collaboration of Estrogen Receptor alpha (ERα) and Extracellular Signal-Regulated Kinase 2 in Regulating Gene and Proliferation Programs, Madak-Erdogan Z, Lupien M, Stossi F., Brown M, Katzenellenbogen BS, Molecular and Cellular Biology. 2011, Jan;31(1):226-36

The nuclear hormone receptor, estrogen receptor α (ERα), and mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) play key roles in hormone-dependent cancers, and yet their interplay and the integration of their signaling inputs remain poorly understood. In these studies, we document that estrogen-occupied ERα activates and interacts with extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2), a downstream effector in the MAPK pathway, resulting in ERK2 and ERα colocalization at chromatin binding sites across the genome of breast cancer cells. This genomic colocalization, predominantly at conserved distal enhancer sites, requires the activation of both ERα and ERK2 and enables ERK2 modulation of estrogen-dependent gene expression and proliferation programs. The ERK2 substrate CREB1 was also activated and recruited to ERK2-bound chromatin following estrogen treatment and found to cooperate with ERα/ERK2 in regulating gene transcription and cell cycle progression. Our study reveals a novel paradigm with convergence of ERK2 and ERα at the chromatin level that positions this kinase to support nuclear receptor activities in crucial and direct ways, a mode of collaboration likely to underlie MAPK regulation of gene expression by other nuclear receptors as well. PMID: 20956553