Melatonin, an Endogenous-specific Inhibitor of Estrogen Receptor α via Calmodulin

Beatriz del Río, Juana M. García Pedrero, Carlos Martínez-Campa, Pedro Zuazua, Pedro S. Lazo, Sofía Ramos
2004 Journal of Biological Chemistry  
Melatonin is an indole hormone produced mainly by the pineal gland. We have previously demonstrated that melatonin interferes with estrogen (E 2 ) signaling in MCF7 cells by impairing estrogen receptor (ER) pathways. Here we present the characterization of its mechanism of action showing that melatonin is a specific inhibitor of E 2 -induced ER␣-mediated transcription in both estrogen response element-and AP1-containing promoters, whereas ER␤-mediated transactivation is not inhibited or even
more » ... nhibited or even activated at certain promoters. We show that the sensitivity of MCF-7 cells to melatonin depends on the ER␣/ER␤ ratio, and ectopic expression of ER␤ results in MCF-7 cells becoming insensitive to this hormone. Melatonin acts as a calmodulin antagonist inducing conformational changes in the ER␣-calmodulin (CaM) complex, thus impairing the binding of E 2 ⅐ER␣⅐CaM complex to DNA and, therefore, preventing ER␣-dependent transcription. Moreover the mutant ER␣ (K302G,K303G), unable to bind calmodulin, becomes insensitive to melatonin. The effect of melatonin is specific since other related indoles neither interact with CaM nor inhibit ER␣-mediated transactivation. Interestingly, melatonin does not affect the binding of coactivators to ER␣, indicating that melatonin action is different from that of current therapeutic anti-estrogens used in breast cancer therapy. Thus, they target ER␣ at different levels, representing two independent ways to control ER␣ activity. It is, therefore, conceivably a synergistic pharmacological effect of melatonin and current anti-estrogen drugs.
doi:10.1074/jbc.m403140200 pmid:15229223 fatcat:j3mlbn2zhbcejf6dcysdkm4f4q