Active FOXO1 is a key determinant of isoform-specific progesterone receptor transactivation and senescence programming

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Abstract

Progesterone promotes differentiation coupled to proliferation and prosurvival in the breast, but inhibits estrogen-driven growth in the reproductive tract and ovaries. Herein, it is demonstrated, using progesterone receptor (PR) isoform-specific ovarian cancer model systems, that PR-A and PR-B promote distinct gene expression profiles that differ from PR-driven genes in breast cancer cells. In ovarian cancer models, PR-A primarily regulates genes independently of progestin, while PR-B is the dominant ligand-dependent isoform. Notably, FOXO1 and the PR/FOXO1 target gene p21 (CDKN1A) are repressed by PR-A, but induced by PR-B. In the presence of progestin, PR-B, but not PR-A, robustly induced cellular senescence via FOXO1-dependent induction of p21 and p15 (CDKN2B). Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays performed on PR isoform-specific cells demonstrated that while each isoform is recruited to the same PRE-containing region of the p21 promoter in response to progestin, only PR-B elicits active chromatin marks. Overexpression of constitutively active FOXO1 in PR-A-expressing cells conferred robust ligand-dependent upregulation of the PR-B target genes GZMA, IGFBP1, and p21, and induced cellular senescence. In the presence of endogenous active FOXO1, PRA was phosphorylated on Ser294 and transactivated PR-B at PR-B target genes; these events were blocked by the FOXO1 inhibitor (AS1842856). PR isoform-specific regulation of the FOXO1/p21 axis recapitulated in human primary ovarian tumor explants treated with progestin; loss of progestin sensitivity correlated with high AKT activity. Implications: This study indicates FOXO1as a critical component for progesterone signaling to promote cellular senescence and reveals a novel mechanism for transcription factor control of hormone sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-162
Number of pages22
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2016

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