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We have previously reported that the expression of antioxidative stress enzymes is upregulated by trans-hydroxytamoxifen (TOT) in breast epithelial cell lines providing protection against estrogen-induced DNA damage. This regulation involves Estrogen Receptor β (ERβ) recruitment to the Electrophile Response Element (EpRE) and a novel protein, human homolog of Xenopus gene which Prevents Mitotic Catastrophe (hPMC2). We have also demonstrated that ERβ and hPMC2 are required for TOT-dependent recruitment of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) and Topoisomerase IIβ (Topo IIβ) to the EpRE. Sequence analysis reveals that the C-terminus of hPMC2 encodes a putative exonuclease domain. Using in vitro kinetic assays, we found that hPMC2 is a 3'-5' non-processive exonuclease that degrades both single-stranded and double-stranded substrates. Mutation of two conserved carboxylate residues drastically reduced the exonuclease activity of hPMC2, indicating the relative importance of the catalytic residues. Western blot analysis of breast cancer cell lines for Quinone Reductase (QR) levels revealed that the intrinsic exonuclease activity of hPMC2 was required for TOT-induced QR upregulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays also indicated that hPMC2 was involved in the formation of strand breaks observed with TOT treatment and is specific for the EpRE-containing region of the QR gene. We also determined that the transcription factor NF-E2-related factor-2 (Nrf2) is involved in the specificity of hPMC2 for the EpRE. In addition, we determined that the catalytic activity of hPMC2 is required for repair of abasic sites that result from estrogen-induced DNA damage. Thus, our study provides a mechanistic basis for transcriptional regulation by hPMC2 and provides novel insights into its role in cancer prevention.


This work was supported by the Department of Defense Breast Cancer Postdoctoral award (BC087610) to NK and NIH Grant (CA92240) to MMM.