The lysosomal protease cathepsin D (Cath-D) is overproduced in breast cancer cells (BCC) and supports tumor growth and metastasis formation. Here, we describe the mechanism whereby Cath-D is accumulated in the nucleus of ERa-positive (ER+) BCC. We identified TRPS1 (tricho-rhino-phalangeal-syndrome 1), a repressor of GATA-mediated transcription, and BAT3 (Scythe/BAG6), a nucleo-cytoplasmic shuttling chaperone protein, as new Cath-D-interacting nuclear proteins. Cath-D binds to BAT3 in ER+ BCC and they partially co-localize at the surface of lysosomes and in the nucleus. BAT3 silencing inhibits Cath-D accumulation in the nucleus, indicating that Cath-D nuclear targeting is controlled by BAT3. Fully mature Cath-D also binds to full-length TRPS1 and they co-localize in the nucleus of ER+ BCC where they are associated with chromatin. Using the LexA-VP16 fusion co-activator reporter assay, we then show that Cath-D acts as a transcriptional repressor, independently of its catalytic activity. Moreover, microarray analysis of BCC in which Cath-D and/or TRPS1 expression were silenced indicated that Cath-D enhances TRPS1-mediated repression of several TRPS1-regulated genes implicated in carcinogenesis, including PTHrP, a canonical TRPS1 gene target. In addition, co-silencing of TRPS1 and Cath-D in BCC affects the transcription of cell cycle, proliferation and transformation genes, and impairs cell cycle progression and soft agar colony formation. These findings indicate that Cath-D acts as a nuclear transcriptional cofactor of TRPS1 to regulate ER+ BCC proliferation and transformation in a non-proteolytic manner.
Research Areas and Centers
- Research Area: Medical Genetics