Nuclear Localized LSR: A Novel Regulator of Breast Cancer Behavior and Tumorigenesis

Mol Cancer Res. 2017 Feb;15(2):165-178. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-16-0085-T. Epub 2016 Nov 17.


Lipolysis-stimulated lipoprotein receptor (LSR) has been found in the plasma membrane and is believed to function in lipoprotein endocytosis and tight junctions. Given the impact of cellular metabolism and junction signaling pathways on tumor phenotypes and patient outcome, it is important to understand how LSR cellular localization mediates its functions. We conducted localization studies, evaluated DNA binding, and examined the effects of nuclear LSR in cells, xenografts, and clinical specimens. We found LSR within the membrane, cytoplasm, and the nucleus of breast cancer cells representing multiple intrinsic subtypes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) showed direct binding of LSR to DNA, and sequence analysis identified putative functional motifs and post-translational modifications of the LSR protein. While neither overexpression of transcript variants, nor pharmacologic manipulation of post-translational modification significantly altered localization, inhibition of nuclear export enhanced nuclear localization, suggesting a mechanism for nuclear retention. Coimmunoprecipitation and proximal ligation assays indicated LSR-pericentrin interactions, presenting potential mechanisms for nuclear-localized LSR. The clinical significance of LSR was evaluated using data from over 1,100 primary breast tumors, which showed high LSR levels in basal-like tumors and tumors from African-Americans. In tumors histosections, nuclear localization was significantly associated with poor outcomes. Finally, in vivo xenograft studies revealed that basal-like breast cancer cells that overexpress LSR exhibited both membrane and nuclear localization, and developed tumors with 100% penetrance, while control cells lacking LSR developed no tumors. These results show that nuclear LSR alters gene expression and may promote aggressive cancer phenotypes.

Implications: LSR functions in the promotion of aggressive breast cancer phenotypes and poor patient outcome via differential subcellular localization to alter cell signaling, bioenergetics, and gene expression. Mol Cancer Res; 15(2); 165-78. ©2016 AACR.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics
  • Breast Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinogenesis / genetics
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / metabolism*
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / pathology
  • Female
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Receptors, LDL / biosynthesis
  • Receptors, LDL / genetics
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism*


  • Receptors, LDL
  • lipolysis-stimulated receptor