The steroid receptor coactivator-1 regulates twist expression and promotes breast cancer metastasis

Cancer Res. 2009 May 1;69(9):3819-27. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4389. Epub 2009 Apr 21.


In breast cancer, steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) expression positively correlates with HER2 expression and poor prognosis. In mouse mammary tumor virus-polyoma middle T (PyMT) breast cancer mouse model, SRC-1 strongly promotes mammary tumor metastasis. However, the molecular targets and mechanisms that mediate the role of SRC-1 in metastasis are unknown. In this study, SRC-1 wild-type (WT) and knockout (KO) cell lines were developed from the mammary tumors of WT/PyMT and KO/PyMT mice. WT cells exhibited strong migration and invasion capabilities, reduced E-cadherin and beta-catenin epithelial markers, gained N-cadherin and vimentin mesenchymal markers, and formed undifferentiated invasive structures in three-dimensional culture. In contrast, KO cells showed slow migration and invasion, retained E-cadherin, had less N-cadherin and vimentin, and developed partially differentiated three-dimensional structures. Importantly, WT cells expressed Twist, a master regulator of metastasis, at significantly higher levels versus KO cells. SRC-1 knockdown in WT cells reduced Twist expression, whereas SRC-1 restoration in KO cells also rescued Twist expression. Furthermore, SRC-1 was found to coactivate Twist transcription through physical interaction with the transcription factor PEA3 at the proximal Twist promoter. Accordingly, Twist knockdown in WT cells increased E-cadherin and reduced cell invasion and metastasis, and Twist expression in KO cells decreased E-cadherin and increased cell invasion. SRC-1 knockdown in human breast cancer cells also decreased Twist, cell migration, and invasion. Therefore, SRC-1 promotes breast cancer invasiveness and metastasis by coactivating PEA3-mediated Twist expression. Intervention of SRC-1 function may provide new strategies to inhibit breast cancer metastasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Cadherins / biosynthesis
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Female
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / genetics
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 1
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Small Interfering / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Transfection
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / biosynthesis*
  • Twist-Related Protein 1 / genetics


  • Cadherins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Transcription Factors
  • Twist-Related Protein 1
  • transcription factor PEA3
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • NCOA1 protein, human
  • Ncoa1 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 1