The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) was initially discovered as an intracellular protein that binds to the environmental toxicant 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and structurally related chlorinated aromatic compounds. In recent years, it has been demonstrated that the AhR binds with structurally and functionally diverse compounds including chemoprotective phytochemicals such as flavonoids, polyphenolics and indole-3-carbinol. Not surprisingly, these compounds exhibit tissue-specific AhR agonist and antagonist activities and can be classified as selective AhR modulators (SAhRMs). Previous studies in this laboratory have taken advantage of the potential applications of SAhRMs for treatment of diseases, and 6-methyl-1,3,8- trichlorodibenzofuran (MCDF) was initially characterized as an AhR antagonist but, like TCDD, MCDF exhibited antiestrogenic activity in estrogen-responsive breast cancer cells and mammary tumors, and MCDF is a potent antiestrogen that acts through inhibitory AhR-estrogen receptor (ER) crosstalk. Results of preliminary studies now show that AhR agonists such as TCDD and MCDF inhibit growth of a large number of ER-negative breast cancer cells including highly invasive MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 cells that are classified as basal or triple negative cells. MCDF also inhibits tumor growth in vivo in athymic nude mice bearing ER-negative cells as xenografts. Moreover, the antitumorigenic activity of MCDF and TCDD is accompanied by AhR-dependent induction of two antimetastatic microRNAs (miRs), namely miR-335 and miR- 205. The proposed studies will further investigate the molecular mechanisms and potential clinical applications of MCDF and structurally-related SAhRMs for treatment of ER-negative breast cancer.
Aim 1 will focus on SAhRM-induced modulation of miR-335 and miR-205 and the role of the AhR in decreasing the proliferation, migration and invasion of a panel of ER-negative breast cancer cell lines.
In Aim 2, the mechanism of AhR- dependent regulation of miR-335 and miR-205 expression will be determined ER-negative breast cancer cell lines and the functional dioxin responsive elements (DREs) regulating miR expression will be identified. In addition, genes regulated by AhR-miR-335 and AhR-miR-205 interactions will also be investigated.
Aim 3 will confirm the role of the AhR, miR-335 and miR-205 in regulating orthotopic mammary tumor growth in athymic nude mice using cell lines in which expression of the AhR, miR-335 and miR-205 is regulated. The proposed studies will be the first to characterize the molecular mechanisms of AhR-miR interactions and development of SAhRMs for clinical applications in the treatment of ER-negative breast cancer.

Public Health Relevance

Selective aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) modulators (SAhRMs) bind and activate the AhR and, in estrogen receptor-negative breast cancer cells, these compounds inhibit cell proliferation and tumor growth in mouse xenografts. The proposed research will investigate the AhR-dependent induction of the antimetastatic microRNA-335 and microRNA-205 and delineate their role in the anticarcinogenic activity of SAhRMs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Xenobiotic and Nutrient Disposition and Action Study Section (XNDA)
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Arya, Suresh
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Texas A&M University
Veterinary Sciences
Schools of Veterinary Medicine
College Station
United States
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