Publications by authors named "Barbara C Spink"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Analysis of the AHR gene proximal promoter GGGGC-repeat polymorphism in lung, breast, and colon cancer.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2015 Jan 4;282(1):30-41. Epub 2014 Nov 4.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201, United States; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY 12201, United States. Electronic address:

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) regulates expression of numerous genes, including those of the CYP1 gene family. With the goal of determining factors that control AHR gene expression, our studies are focused on the role of the short tandem repeat polymorphism, (GGGGC)n, located in the proximal promoter of the human AHR gene. When luciferase constructs containing varying GGGGC repeats were transfected into cancer cell lines derived from the lung, colon, and breast, the number of GGGGC repeats affected AHR promoter activity. The number of GGGGC repeats was determined in DNA from 327 humans and from 38 samples representing 5 species of non-human primates. In chimpanzees and 3 species of macaques, only (GGGGC)2 alleles were observed; however, in western gorilla, (GGGGC)n alleles with n=2, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 were identified. In all human populations examined, the frequency of (GGGGC)n was n=4>5≫2, 6. When frequencies of the (GGGGC)n alleles in DNA from patients with lung, colon, or breast cancer were evaluated, the occurrence of (GGGGC)2 was found to be 8-fold more frequent among lung cancer patients in comparison with its incidence in the general population, as represented by New York State neonates. Analysis of matched tumor and non-tumor DNA samples from the same individuals provided no evidence of microsatellite instability. These studies indicate that the (GGGGC)n short tandem repeats are inherited, and that the (GGGGC)2 allele in the AHR proximal promoter region should be further investigated with regard to its potential association with lung cancer susceptibility.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2014.10.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404625PMC
January 2015

Genetic and epigenetic regulation of AHR gene expression in MCF-7 breast cancer cells: role of the proximal promoter GC-rich region.

Biochem Pharmacol 2012 Sep 21;84(5):722-35. Epub 2012 Jun 21.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201, USA.

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), a ligand-activated transcription factor, contributes to carcinogenesis through its role in the regulation of cytochrome P450 1 (CYP1)-catalyzed metabolism of carcinogens. Here, we investigated genetic and epigenetic mechanisms that affect AhR expression. Analyses of the human AHR proximal promoter in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells using luciferase assays and electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed multiple specificity protein (Sp) 1 binding sequences that are transcriptional activators in vitro. The regulation of AhR expression was evaluated in long-term estrogen exposed (LTEE) MCF-7 cells, which showed increased AhR expression, enhanced CYP1 inducibility, and increased capacity to form DNA adducts when exposed to the dietary carcinogen, 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine. The increased AhR expression in LTEE cells was found not to result from increased mRNA stability, differential RNA processing, or decreased DNA methylation. Analysis of the AHR proximal promoter region using chromatin immunoprecipitation confirmed that enhanced expression of AhR in LTEE cells involves changes in histone modifications, notably decreased trimethylation of histone 3, lysine 27. Upon further examination of the GC-rich Sp1-binding region, we confirmed that it contains a polymorphic (GGGGC)(n) repeat. In a population of newborns from New York State, the allele frequency of (GGGGC)(n) was n = 4 > 5 ≫ 6, 2. Circular dichroism spectroscopy revealed the ability of sequences of this GC-rich region to form guanine-quadruplex structures in vitro. These studies revealed multiple levels at which AhR expression may be controlled, and offer additional insights into mechanisms regulating AhR expression that can ultimately impact carcinogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2012.06.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3965201PMC
September 2012

Expression of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor is not required for the proliferation, migration, invasion, or estrogen-dependent tumorigenesis of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Mol Carcinog 2013 Jul 2;52(7):544-54. Epub 2012 Mar 2.

Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York 12201-0509, USA.

The AhR was initially identified as a ligand-activated transcription factor mediating effects of chlorinated dioxins and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on cytochrome P450 1 (CYP1) expression. Recently, evidence supporting involvement of the AhR in cell-cycle regulation and tumorigenesis has been presented. To further define the roles of the AhR in cancer, we investigated the effects of AhR expression on cell proliferation, migration, invasion, and tumorigenesis of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. In these studies, the properties of MCF-7 cells were compared with those of two MCF-7-derived sublines: AH(R100) , which express minimal AhR, and AhR(exp) , which overexpress AhR. Quantitative PCR, Western immunoblots, 17β-estradiol (E2 ) metabolism assays, and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase assays showed the lack of AhR expression and AhR-regulated CYP1 expression in AH(R100) cells, and enhanced AhR and CYP1 expression in AhR(exp) cells. In the presence of 1 nM E2 , rates of cell proliferation of the three cell lines showed an inverse correlation with the levels of AhR mRNA. In comparison with MCF-7 and AhR(exp) cells, AH(R100) cells produced more colonies in soft agar and showed enhanced migration and invasion in chamber assays with E2 as the chemoattractant. Despite the lack of significant AhR expression, AH(R100) cells retained the ability to form tumors in severe combined immunodeficient mice when supplemented with E2 , producing mean tumor volumes comparable to those observed with MCF-7 cells. These studies indicate that, while CYP1 expression and inducibility are highly dependent on AhR expression, the proliferation, invasion, migration, anchorage-independent growth, and estrogen-stimulated tumor formation of MCF-7 cells do not require the AhR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/mc.21889DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3433635PMC
July 2013

Persistent and non-persistent changes in gene expression result from long-term estrogen exposure of MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 2011 Feb 23;123(3-5):140-50. Epub 2010 Dec 23.

Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201, USA.

Life-long estrogen exposure is recognized as a major risk factor for the development of breast cancer. While the initial events in the regulation of gene expression by estrogen have been described in detail, far less is known of the role of estrogen in the long-term regulation of gene expression. In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term exposure of MCF-7 breast cancer cells to 1nM 17β-estradiol on gene expression with the goal of distinguishing between gene expression that is continually reliant on estrogen receptor (ER) function as opposed to secondary and persistent effects that are downstream of ER. To assess the direct involvement of ER in the differential gene expression of long-term estrogen exposed (LTEE) cells in comparison with that of control cells, we exposed cultures to the selective estrogen receptor modulator raloxifene (RAL). cDNA microarray analysis showed that exposure to RAL inhibited expression of numerous characterized estrogen-regulated genes, including PGR, GREB1, and PDZK1. Genes that were increased in expression in LTEE cells yet were unaffected by RAL exposure included the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and numerous other genes that were not previously reported to be regulated by estrogen. Epigenetic regulation was evident for the AHR gene; AhR transcript levels remained elevated for several cell passages after the removal of estrogen. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1); STAT1-regulated genes including ISG15, IFI27, and IFIT1; and MHC class I genes were also up-regulated in LTEE cells and were unaffected by RAL exposure. STAT1 is commonly overexpressed in breast and other cancers, and is associated with increased resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. This is the first study to relate estrogen exposure to increased STAT1 expression in breast cancer cells, an effect that may represent an additional role of estrogen in the pathogenesis of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsbmb.2010.12.010DOI Listing
February 2011

Long-term estrogen exposure promotes carcinogen bioactivation, induces persistent changes in gene expression, and enhances the tumorigenicity of MCF-7 human breast cancer cells.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2009 Nov 18;240(3):355-66. Epub 2009 Jul 18.

Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.

The cumulative exposure to estrogens is an important determinant in the risk of breast cancer, yet the full range of mechanisms involving estrogens in the genesis and progression of breast cancer remains a subject of debate. Interactions of estrogens and environmental toxicants have received attention as putative factors contributing to carcinogenesis. Mechanistic studies have demonstrated interactions between estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), with consequences on the genes that they regulate. Many studies of ERalpha and AhR-mediated effects and crosstalk between them have focused on the initial molecular events. In this study, we investigated ERalpha- and AhR-mediated effects in long-term estrogen exposed (LTEE) MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, which were obtained by continuous culturing for at least 12 weeks in medium supplemented with 1 nM of 17beta-estradiol (E(2)). With these LTEE cells and with parallel control cells cultured without E(2) supplementation, we performed an extensive study of cytochrome P450 (CYP) induction, carcinogen bioactivation, global gene expression, and tumorigenicity in immunocompromised mice. We found that LTEE cells, in comparison with control cells, had higher levels of AhR mRNA and protein, greater responsiveness for AhR-regulated CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 induction, a 6-fold higher initial level of benzo(a)pyrene-DNA adducts as determined by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry, marked differences in the expression of numerous genes, and a higher rate of E(2)-dependent tumor growth as xenografts. These studies indicate that LTEE causes adaptive responses in MCF-7 cells, which may reflect processes that contribute to the overall carcinogenic effect of E(2).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2009.07.013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3180932PMC
November 2009

Induction of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 by benzo(k)fluoranthene and benzo(a)pyrene in T-47D human breast cancer cells: roles of PAH interactions and PAH metabolites.

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2008 Feb 5;226(3):213-24. Epub 2007 Sep 5.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.

The interactions of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and cytochromes P450 (CYP) are complex; PAHs are enzyme inducers, substrates, and inhibitors. In T-47D breast cancer cells, exposure to 0.1 to 1 microM benzo(k)fluoranthene (BKF) induced CYP1A1/1B1-catalyzed 17beta-estradiol (E(2)) metabolism, whereas BKF levels greater than 1 muM inhibited E(2) metabolism. Time course studies showed that induction of CYP1-catalyzed E(2) metabolism persisted after the disappearance of BKF or co-exposed benzo(a)pyrene, suggesting that BKF metabolites retaining Ah receptor agonist activity were responsible for prolonged CYP1 induction. BKF metabolites were shown, through the use of ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase and CYP1A1-promoter-luciferase reporter assays to induce CYP1A1/1B1 in T-47D cells. Metabolites formed by oxidation at the C-2/C-3 region of BKF had potencies for CYP1 induction exceeding those of BKF, whereas C-8/C-9 oxidative metabolites were somewhat less potent than BKF. The activities of expressed human CYP1A1 and 1B1 with BKF as substrate were investigated by use of HPLC with fluorescence detection, and by GC/MS. The results showed that both enzymes efficiently catalyzed the formation of 3-, 8-, and 9-OHBKF from BKF. These studies indicate that the inductive effects of PAH metabolites as potent CYP1 inducers are likely to be additional important factors in PAH-CYP interactions that affect metabolism and bioactivation of other PAHs, ultimately modulating PAH toxicity and carcinogenicity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2007.08.024DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2423327PMC
February 2008

Inhibition of MCF-7 breast cancer cell proliferation by MCF-10A breast epithelial cells in coculture.

Cell Biol Int 2006 Mar 19;30(3):227-38. Epub 2006 Jan 19.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, PO Box 509, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.

A coculture system was developed to investigate the interactions between MCF-10A breast epithelial cells and MCF-7 breast cancer cells stably expressing the green fluorescent protein (MCF-7-GFP). Studies with this MCF-10A/MCF-7-GFP coculture system on microtiter plates and on reconstituted basement membrane (Matrigel), revealed paracrine inhibition of MCF-7-GFP cell proliferation. Epidermal growth factor, which in monocultures modestly enhanced MCF-7-GFP and markedly increased MCF-10A cell proliferation, greatly inhibited MCF-7-GFP cell proliferation in MCF-10A/MCF-7-GFP cocultures. 17beta-Estradiol, which stimulated MCF-7-GFP but not MCF-10A cell proliferation in monoculture, inhibited MCF-7-GFP cell proliferation in MCF-10A/MCF-7-GFP cocultures, an effect that was blocked by the antiestrogen, ICI 182,780. On Matrigel, complex MCF-10A/MCF-7-GFP cellular interactions were observed in real time that resulted in the formation of acinus-like structures. These results indicate a role of normal epithelial cells in inhibiting tumor-cell proliferation and demonstrate the utility of this coculture system as a model of early paracrine control of breast cancer.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cellbi.2005.11.006DOI Listing
March 2006

Transient induction of cytochromes P450 1A1 and 1B1 in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells by indirubin.

Biochem Pharmacol 2003 Dec;66(12):2313-21

New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.

The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), when activated by exogenous ligands such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), regulates expression of several phase I and phase II enzymes and is also involved in the regulation of cell proliferation. Several studies suggest that endogenous AhR ligand(s) may exist. One putative endogenous ligand is indirubin, which was recently identified in human urine and bovine serum. We determined the effect of indirubin in MCF-7 breast cancer cells on induction of the activities of cytochromes P450 (CYP) 1A1 and 1B1, as measured by estradiol and ethoxyresorufin metabolism, and on induction of the CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 mRNAs. With 4-hr exposure, the effects of indirubin and TCDD at 10nM on CYP activity were comparable, but the effects of indirubin, unlike those of TCDD, were transitory. Indirubin-induced ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity was maximal by 6-9 hr post-exposure and had disappeared by 24 hr, whereas TCDD-induced activities remained elevated for at least 72 hr. The effects of indirubin on CYP mRNA induction were maximal at 3 hr. Indirubin was metabolized by microsomes containing cDNA-expressed human CYP1A1 or CYP1B1. The potency of indirubin was comparable to that of TCDD in a CYP1B1-promoter-driven luciferase assay, when MCF-7 cells were co-exposed to the AhR ligands together with the CYP inhibitor, ellipticine. Thus, if indirubin is an endogenous AhR ligand, then AhR-mediated signaling by indirubin is likely to be transient and tightly controlled by the ability of indirubin to induce CYP1A1 and CYP1B1, and hence its own metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcp.2003.08.019DOI Listing
December 2003

Estrogen regulates Ah responsiveness in MCF-7 breast cancer cells.

Carcinogenesis 2003 Dec 11;24(12):1941-50. Epub 2003 Sep 11.

Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, NY 12201-0509, USA.

Cytochrome P450 (CYP)1A1 and CYP1B1, which are under the regulatory control of the aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor (AhR), catalyze the metabolic activation of numerous procarcinogens and the hydroxylation of 17beta-estradiol (E2) at the C-2 and C-4 positions, respectively. There is evidence of cross-talk between estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha)- and AhR-mediated signaling in breast and endometrial cells. To further examine these interactions, we investigated the short- and long-term effects of E2 exposure on Ah responsiveness in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Short-term exposure to 1 nM E2 elevated the ratio of the 4- to 2-hydroxylation pathways of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)-induced E2 metabolism and the ratio of the induced CYP1B1 to CYP1A1 mRNA levels, as determined by real-time PCR. Cells maintained long-term (9-12 months) in low-E2 medium progressively lost Ah responsiveness, as indicated by diminished rates of TCDD-induced E2 metabolism and ethoxyresorufin O-deethylase activity, and the reduced expression of the CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 mRNAs and proteins levels. These E2-deprived cells showed elevated levels of ERalpha mRNA, depressed levels of AhR mRNA, and unchanged levels of the AhR nuclear translocator mRNA. Transient transfection studies using a CYP1B1-promoter-luciferase reporter construct showed that reduced CYP1B1 promoter activity in E2-deprived cells could be restored by co-transfection with an AhR expression construct, indicating that AhR expression was limiting in these cells. The reduced Ah responsiveness of E2-deprived cells was reversed by culture for four passages in medium supplemented with 1 nM E2; ERalpha and AhR mRNAs returned to near-normal levels and the inducibility of the CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 mRNAs, proteins, and E2 metabolic activities by TCDD was restored. These studies indicate that the continued presence of estrogen is required to maintain high levels of AhR expression and inducibility of the procarcinogen-bioactivating enzymes, CYP1A1 and CYP1B1, in MCF-7 cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/bgg162DOI Listing
December 2003

Quantitation of CYP1A1 and 1B1 mRNA in polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon-treated human T-47D and HepG2 cells by a modified bDNA assay using fluorescence detection.

Anal Biochem 2003 Jan;312(2):162-6

New York State Department of Health, Wadsworth Center, PO Box 509, Albany 12201-0509, USA.

The quantitation of mRNA, essential for assessing mechanisms of enzyme regulation, is normally carried out using reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). An alternative method uses a signal-amplification nucleic acid probe assay, which measures RNA directly by the QuantiGene Expression Kit and incorporates branched DNA technology from Bayer and luminometer-based readings of a chemilumigenic alkaline phosphatase substrate. To broaden the utility of this assay, we investigated substitution of a fluorescent substrate, 2'-(2-benzothiazol)-6'-hydroxybenzothiazole phosphate and a fluorometer, and applied the method to quantitation of CYP1A1 and 1B1 mRNA in human T-47D and HepG2 cells following induction by benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and dibenzo[a,h]anthracene (DB[a,h]A). The fluorescence response increased linearly for 200 min without photobleaching and increased linearly (r2=0.997) up to at least 0.2 microg total RNA. The data revealed that at 0.5 and 1.0 microM inducing agent, the induction of CYP1A1 mRNA in HepG2 cells by DB[a,h]A exceeded that by B[a]P by 18- and 6-fold, respectively. In T-47D cells B[a]P induced CYP1A1 mRNA by 23-fold and CYP1B1 mRNA by 3.9-fold. A B[a]P cocontaminant in the environment, arsenite, did not affect B[a]P-induced levels of CYP1A1 or 1B1 mRNA in these cells. The modified analytical system provides a rapid-throughput, reproducible, and less labor-intensive method than RT-PCR for quantifying cellular mRNA levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0003-2697(02)00444-xDOI Listing
January 2003

Induction of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 in T-47D human breast cancer cells by benzo[a]pyrene is diminished by arsenite.

Drug Metab Dispos 2002 Mar;30(3):262-9

Laboratory of Human Toxicology and Molecular Epidemiology, Wadsworth Center, New York State Department of Health, Albany, New York 12201-0509, USA.

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and metals are often environmental cocontaminants, yet there have been relatively few studies of combined effects of PAHs and metals on cytochrome P450 (P450)-catalyzed metabolism. We examined the effects of NaAsO(2) in combination with benzo[a]pyrene (BAP) on CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 in T-47D human breast cancer cells by using estrogen metabolism as a probe of their activities. Exposure to BAP caused elevated rates of the 2- and 4-hydroxylation pathways of estrogen metabolism, indicating induction of both CYP1A1, an estradiol 2-hydroxylase, and CYP1B1, an estradiol 4-hydroxylase. BAP-induced metabolism peaked 9 to 16 h after exposure and returned to near-basal levels by 48 h. Concentration-response studies showed maximal induction of the 2- and 4-hydroxylation pathways at 3 microM BAP; higher levels caused reduced rates of metabolism due to inhibition of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1. NaAsO(2) caused pronounced decreases in the induction of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 by 3 microM BAP because cotreatment with 10 microM NaAsO(2) inhibited the rates of the 2- and 4-hydroxylation pathways by 86 and 92%, respectively. Western immunoblots showed diminished levels of BAP-induced CYP1A1 by coexposure to NaAsO(2). The levels of the CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 mRNAs induced by BAP were not significantly affected by coexposure to NaAsO(2); however, heme oxygenase 1 mRNA levels were markedly induced by coexposure to BAP and NaAsO(2). These results indicate a post-transcriptional inhibitory effect of arsenite on the expression of CYP1A1 and CYP1B1 in T-47D cells, possibly resulting from reduced heme availability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/dmd.30.3.262DOI Listing
March 2002