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      Prolylcarboxypeptidase regulates proliferation, autophagy, and resistance to 4-hydroxytamoxifen-induced cytotoxicity in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells.

      The Journal of Biological Chemistry

      Antineoplastic Agents, Hormonal, therapeutic use, Autophagy, Breast Neoplasms, drug therapy, enzymology, genetics, Carboxypeptidases, metabolism, Cell Line, Tumor, Cell Proliferation, Cytotoxins, pharmacology, Drug Resistance, Neoplasm, Estrogen Antagonists, Female, Humans, Neoplasm Proteins, Receptors, Estrogen, Tamoxifen, analogs & derivatives

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          Endocrine therapy with tamoxifen (TAM) significantly improves outcomes for patients with estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer. However, intrinsic (de novo) or acquired resistance to TAM occurs in a significant proportion of treated patients. To identify genes involved in resistance to TAM, we introduced full-length cDNA expression library into estrogen receptor-positive MCF7 cells and exposed them to a cytotoxic dose of 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4OHTAM). Four different library inserts were isolated from surviving clones. Re-introduction of the genes individually into naive MCF7 cells made them resistant to 4OHTAM. Cells overexpressing these genes had an increase in acidic autophagic vacuoles induced by 4OHTAM, suggesting their role in autophagy. One of them, prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP), was investigated further. Overexpression of PRCP increased cell proliferation, boosted several established markers of autophagy, including expression of LC3-2, sequestration of monodansylcadaverine, and proteolysis of BSA in an ER-α dependent manner, and increased resistance to 4OHTAM. Conversely, knockdown of endogenous PRCP in MCF7 cells increased cell sensitivity to 4OHTAM and at the same time decreased cell proliferation and expression of LC3-2, sequestration of monodansylcadaverine, and proteolysis of BSA. Inhibition of enzymatic activity of PRCP enhanced 4OHTAM-induced cytotoxicity in MCF7 cells. Cells with acquired resistance to 4OHTAM exhibited increased PRCP activity, although inhibition of PRCP prevented development of 4OHTAM resistance in parental MCF7 cells and restored response to 4OHTAM in MCF7 cells with acquired resistance to 4OHTAM. Thus, we have for the first time identified PRCP as a resistance factor for 4OHTAM resistance in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer cells.

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