Overexpression of Cyclin E and its Low Molecular Weight Isoforms Cooperate with Loss of p53 in Promoting Oncogenic Properties of MCF-7 Breast Cancer Cells


Cyclin E, a key coordinator of the G1 to S transition in the cell cycle, may be deregulated in several malignancies, including breast cancer. The most significant aberration in cyclin E is its elastase mediated proteolytic cleavage into tumor specific low molecular weight isoforms (LMW-Es). LMW-Es are biochemically hyperactive and biologically drive tumorigenesis in transgenic mouse models. Additionally, expression of LMW-Es has been correlated with poor survival in breast cancer cases. Here we determine whether expression of LMW-Es in a breast cancer cell line that is naturally devoid of these deregulated forms would alter their progression through each phase of the cell cycle. The results revealed that LMW-Es expression resulted in an increased doubling time, concomitant with a predominant increase in the population in the S phase of the cell cycle. Moreover, downregulation of p53 in LMW-Es cells resulted in additional shortening of the doubling time and enrichment of cells in the S and G2/M phases of the cell cycle. Furthermore, expression of LMW-Es sensitized cells to β-estradiol (E2) mediated growth and changed expression patterns of estrogen receptor and Bcl-2. Intriguingly, expression of LMW-Es could surpass anti-apoptotic effects raised by p53 upregulation. Taken together these studies suggest that overexpression of LMW-Es in collaboration with p53 loss results in altered g rowth properties of MCF-7 cells, enhancing the oncogenic activity of these ER positive breast cancer cells.