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Régulation de l'activité de récepteur alpha des oestrogènes (ERα) par l'hypoxie et le facteur MKL1 dans un modèle de cellules cancéreuses mammaires

Abstract : Estrogens, and in particular estradiol E2, regulate a considerable number of physiological functions in the body and allow the establishment and maintenance of reproductive functions in all vertebrates. E2 acts locally in multiple target organs via its receptors: ERα and ERβ. By its proliferative action contributing to the renewal of the mammary epithelium, E2 as well as its ERα receptor have been associated with the pathological development of mammary tumors. These are qualified as hormone-dependent because they, for the majority of them, respond to the use of hormone therapy to block their growth. Unfortunately, it is estimated that 30-40% of mammary tumors end up with resistance to anti-estrogen treatments, through extremely complex mechanisms. The work presented in this manuscript aims to better understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms involved in the escape of mammary tumor cells to hormonal control. In this thesis, we looked at two factors that can modulate the ERα activity: hypoxia, which refers to oxygen depletion in the cellular microenvironment, and the RhoA/MKL1 pathway that is frequently activated during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Hypoxia is a major feature of solid tumors, and studies suggest a role in the development of endocrine resistance in breast cancer. We show that hypoxic stress strongly inhibits the expression of ERα, mainly at the protein level, and that it abolishes E2-induced cell proliferation and survival. Transcriptomic analysis shows that a certain number of ERα target genes are also regulated by hypoxia, which can either repress (CXCL12) or increase their expression (AREG ...). Moreover, the analysis of the ERα cistrome demonstrates a massive loss of the number of ERBSs (Estrogen Receptor Binding Site) by hypoxia, but also an appearance of hypoxia-specific ERBSs. Our results suggest that the strong regulatory overlap between ERα and hypoxia may modulate the efficacy of anti-hormonal therapies. Finally, the team demonstrated that the activation of the RhoA/MKL1 pathway causes a strong inhibition of the ERα AF1 function. In order to better understand the effects of this signaling pathway on ERα activity, an MCF7 cell line stably expressing a constitutively active mutant of the MKL1 factor was generated. We show that its expression profoundly modifies the cellular context by causing the switch from a luminal phenotype to a basal-like phenotype. The transcriptomic analysis of the E2 response shows that the MKL1 induced change in cell fate abolishes any transcriptional regulation of ERα target genes. This change in cellular orientation is accompanied by massive reprogramming of the ERα cistrome with a significant loss of its chromatin binding sites, but also unexpectedly, an enrichment of new ERBSs. Finally, we show a strong increase of "non-genomic" ERα interactions with cytoplasmic partners such as PI3K, MSK1 and Src. These data suggest that in aggressive mesenchymal cells expressing ERα, the receptor activity is mainly based on its "non-genomic" action. Interestingly, the use of pure anti-estrogen ICI 182 780 has no inhibitory effect on these interactions, for which a functional role remains to be established.
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Charly Jehanno. Régulation de l'activité de récepteur alpha des oestrogènes (ERα) par l'hypoxie et le facteur MKL1 dans un modèle de cellules cancéreuses mammaires. Médecine humaine et pathologie. Université Rennes 1, 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017REN1B050⟩. ⟨tel-01936342⟩

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