Heregulin ß-1 (HRG) is an extracellular ligand that activates mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase (PI3K)/AKt signaling pathways through ErbB receptors, MAPK and Akt have been shown to phosphorylatte the estrogen receptor (ER) at Ser-118 and Ser-167, respectively, thereby mimicking the effects of estrogenic activity such as estrogen responsive element (ERE)-dependent transcription. In the current study, integrative analysis was performed using two tiling array platforms, comprising histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9) acetylation and RNA mapping, together with array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) analysis in an effort to identify HRG-regulated genes in ER-positive MCF-7 breast cancer cells. Through application of various threshold setting, 333 (326 up-regulated and 7 down-regulated) HRG-regulated genes were detected. Prediction of upstream transcription factors (TFs) and pathway analysis indicated that 21% of HRG-induced gene regulation may be controlled by the MAPK cascade, while only 0.6% of the gene expression is controlled by ERE. A comparison with previously reported estrogen (E2)-regulated gene expression data revealed that only 12 common genes were identified between the 333 HRG-regulated (3.6%) and 239 E2-regulated (5.0%) gene groups. However, with respect to enriched upstream TFs, 4 common TFs were identified in the 14 HRG-regulated (28.6%) and 13 E2-regulated (30.8%) gene groups. These results indicated that while E2 and HRG may induce common TFs, the regulatory mechanisms that govern HRG- and E2-induced gene expression differ.
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