Document Type



Public Health

First Advisor's Name

Deodutta Roy

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Alejandro Barbieri

Third Advisor's Name

Jai Parkash

Fourth Advisor's Name

Quentin Felty


Breast carcinogenesis, NRF-1, 4OHE2, Estrogen, E2, PCAF, Akt, Reactive oxygen species, ROS

Date of Defense



Breast cancer is a disease associated with excess exposures to estrogens. While the mode of cancer causation is unknown, others have shown that oxidative stress induced by prolonged exposure to estrogens mediates renal, liver, endometrial and mammary tumorigenesis though the mechanism(s) underling this process is unknown. In this study, we show that 4-hydroxyl 17β-estradiol (4-OHE2), a catechol metabolite of estrogen, induces mammary tumorigenesis in a redox dependent manner. We found that the mechanism of tumorigenesis involves redox activations of nuclear respiratory factor-1 (NRF1); a transcriptions factor associated with regulation of mitochondria biogenesis and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), as well as mediation of cell survival and growth of cells during periods of oxidative stress. Key findings from our study are as follows: (i) Prolonged treatments of normal mammary epithelial cells with 4-OHE2, increased the formation of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS). (ii) Estrogen-induced ROS activates redox sensitive transcription factors NRF1. (iii) 4-OHE2 through activation of serine-threonine kinase and histone acetyl transferase, phosphorylates and acetylate NRF1 respectively. (iv) Redox mediated epigenetic modifications of NRF1 facilitates mammary tumorigenesis and invasive phenotypes of breast cancer cells via modulations of genes involved in proliferation, growth and metastasis of exposed cells. (v) Animal engraftment of transformed clones formed invasive tumors. (vi) Treatment of cells or tumors with biological or chemical antioxidants, as well as silencing of NRF1 expressions, prevented 4-OHE2 induced mammary tumorigenesis and invasive phenotypes of MCF-10A cells. Based on these observations, we hypothesize that 4-OHE2 induced ROS epigenetically activate NRF1 through its phosphorylation and acylation. This, in turn, through NRF1-mediated transcriptional activation of the cell cycle genes, controls 4-OHE2 induced cell transformation and tumorigenesis.





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