Function of nuclear sex hormone receptors in gene regulation

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 2005 Nov;56 Suppl 1:4-9. doi: 10.1007/s00280-005-0102-8.


The development of reproductive organ tumors such as breast and prostate cancer often depends on the action of sex hormones. Nuclear sex hormone receptors are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily and act as ligand-inducible transcription factors, controlling the expression of target genes. Nuclear receptors are considered to directly and indirectly interact with a number of nuclear co-regulatory complexes involved in chromatin remodeling and histone modification. Moreover, many intracellular signalings via cell membrane receptors are shown to modulate nuclear receptor-regulated transcription. We have shown that estrogen receptors (ER) associate with a number of nuclear complexes, one of which is a spliceosome complex. We recently found that this spliceosome complex interacts with phosphorylated ER by MAP kinase, generating a novel cross-talk of estrogen and growth factor signalings. We also observed that a dioxin receptor (AhR) is capable of associating with ER, resulting in modulation of ER transactivation function. From our findings we believe that development of estrogen-dependent breast cancer may be mediated through the other signaling pathways. To address the function of the androgen receptor (AR) in androgen-dependent prostate cancer, we established a transgenic mouse line expressing a human AR mutant that is found in androgen-independent prostate cancer patients. The hAR mutant mice, generated through a Cre-loxP system, developed hyperplasia in the prostates. Hypersensitivity of AR mutants to antagonists and endogenous steroid hormones may potentiate hormone-dependency in prostate cancer development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogens / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Growth Substances / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Receptors, Androgen / physiology*
  • Receptors, Estrogen / physiology*


  • Estrogens
  • Growth Substances
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, Estrogen