Expression of estrogen receptor β increases integrin α1 and integrin β1 levels and enhances adhesion of breast cancer cells

Karolina Lindberg, Anders Ström, John G. Lock, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Lars Arne Haldosén, Luisa A. Helguero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Estrogen effects on mammary gland development and differentiation are mediated by two receptors (ERα and ERβ). Estrogen-bound ERα induces proliferation of mammary epithelial and cancer cells, while ERβ is important for maintenance of the differentiated epithelium and inhibits proliferation in different cell systems. In addition, the normal breast contains higher ERβ levels compared to the early stage breast cancers, suggesting that loss of ERβ could be important in cancer development. Analysis of ERb-/- mice has consistently revealed reduced expression of cell adhesion proteins. As such, ERβ is a candidate modulator of epithelial homeostasis and metastasis. Consequently, the aim of this study was to analyze estrogenic effects on adhesion of breast cancer cells expressing ERα and ERβ. As ERβ is widely found in breast cancer but not in cell lines, we used ERα positive T47-D and MCF-7 human breast cancer cells to generate cells with inducible ERβ expression. Furthermore, the colon cancer cell lines SW480 and HT-29 were also used. Integrin α1 mRNA and protein levels increased following ERb expression. Integrin b1-the unique partner for integrin α1-increased only at the protein level. ERβ expression enhanced the formation of vinculin containing focal complexes and actin filaments, indicating a more adhesive potential. This was confirmed by adhesion assays where ERβ increased adhesion to different extracellular matrix proteins, mostly laminin. In addition, ERβ expression was associated to less cell migration. These results indicate that ERβ affects integrin expression and clustering and consequently modulates adhesion and migration of breast cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-167
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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