CITED2 modulates estrogen receptor transcriptional activity in breast cancer cells

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Jul 26;437(2):261-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.06.063. Epub 2013 Jun 27.


Cbp/p300-interacting transactivator with Glu/Asp-rich carboxy-terminal domain 2 (CITED2) is a member of the CITED family of non-DNA binding transcriptional co-activators of the p300/CBP-mediated transcription complex. Previously, we identified CITED2 as being overexpressed in human breast tumors relative to normal mammary epithelium. Upon further investigation within the estrogen receptor (ER)-positive subset of these breast tumor samples, we found that CITED2 mRNA expression was elevated in those associated with poor survival. In light of this observation, we investigated the effect of elevated CITED2 levels on ER function. While ectopic overexpression of CITED2 in three ER-positive breast cancer cell lines (MCF-7, T47D, and CAMA-1) did not alter cell proliferation in complete media, growth was markedly enhanced in the absence of exogenous estrogen. Correspondingly, cells overexpressing CITED2 demonstrated reduced sensitivity to the growth inhibitory effects of the selective estrogen receptor modulator, 4-hydroxytamoxifen. Subsequent studies revealed that basal ER transcriptional activity was elevated in CITED2-overexpressing cells and was further increased upon the addition of estrogen. Similarly, basal and estrogen-induced expression of the ER-regulated genes trefoil factor 1 (TFF1) and progesterone receptor (PGR) was higher in cells overexpressing CITED2. Concordant with this observation, ChIP analysis revealed higher basal levels of CITED2 localized to the TFF-1 and PGR promoters in cells with ectopic overexpression of CITED2, and these levels were elevated further in response to estrogen stimulation. Taken together, these data indicate that CITED2 functions as a transcriptional co-activator of ER in breast cancer cells and that its increased expression in tumors may result in estrogen-independent ER activation, thereby reducing estrogen dependence and response to anti-estrogen therapy.

Keywords: Breast cancer; CITED2; Cbp/p300-interacting transactivator with Glu/Asp-rich carboxyterminal domain 2; ER; Estrogen receptor; LIM homeobox 2; Lhx2; PGR; PPARα; TFAP2; TFF1; estrogen receptor; peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α; progesterone receptor; transcription factor AP2; trefoil factor 1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA Primers
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology*


  • CITED2 protein, human
  • DNA Primers
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators