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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor ( PBR) in human breast cancer: correlation of breast cancer cell aggressive phenotype with PBR expression, nuclear localization, and PBR- mediated cell proliferation and nuclear transport of cholesterol.

Aberrant cell proliferation and increased invasive and metastatic behavior are hallmarks of the advancement of breast cancer. Numerous studies implicate a role for cholesterol in the mechanisms underlying cell proliferation and cancer progression. The peripheral-type benzodiazepine receptor ( PBR) is an Mr 18,000 protein primarily localized to the mitochondria. PBR mediates cholesterol transport across the mitochondrial membranes in steroidogenic cells. A role for PBR in the regulation of tumor cell proliferation has also been shown. In this study, we examined the expression, characteristics, localization, and function of PBR in a battery of human breast cancer cell lines differing in their invasive and chemotactic potential as well as in several human tissue biopsies. Expression of PBR ligand binding and mRNA was dramatically increased in the highly aggressive cell lines, such as MDA-231, relative to nonaggressive cell lines, such as MCF-7. PBR was also found to be expressed at high levels in aggressive metastatic human breast tumor biopsies compared with normal breast tissues. Subcellular localization with both antibodies and a fluorescent PBR drug ligand revealed that PBR from the MDA-231 cell line as well as from aggressive metastatic human breast tumor biopsies localized primarily in and around the nucleus. This localization is in direct contrast to the largely cytoplasmic localization seen in MCF-7 cells, normal breast tissue, and to the typical mitochondrial localization seen in mouse tumor Leydig cells. Pharmacological characterization of the receptor and partial nucleotide sequencing of PBR cDNA revealed that the MDA-231 PBR is similar, although not identical, to previously described PBR. Addition of high affinity PBR drug ligands to MDA-231 cells increased the incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into the cells in a dose-dependent manner, suggesting a role for PBR in the regulation of MDA-231 cell proliferation. Cholesterol uptake into isolated MDA-231 nuclei was found to be 30% greater than into MCF-7 nuclei. High-affinity PBR drug ligands regulated the levels of cholesterol present in MDA-231 nuclei but not in MCF-7. In addition, the PBR-dependent MDA-231 cell proliferation was found to highly correlate (r = -0.99) with the PBR- mediated changes in nuclear membrane cholesterol levels. In conclusion, these data suggest that PBR expression, nuclear localization, and PBR- mediated cholesterol transport into the nucleus are involved in human breast cancer cell proliferation and aggressive phenotype expression, thus participating in the advancement of the disease.[1]


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