Purpose: Metabolic reprogramming in breast cancer (BC) subtypes offers potential personalized treatment targets. Estrogen receptor α (ERα)-positive BC patients undergoing endocrine therapy (ET) can develop ET-resistant metastatic disease. Specific mutations, like Y537S in ERα, drive uncontrolled cell proliferation. Targeting mutant receptor levels shows promise for inhibiting growth in metastatic BC expressing ERα variants. Additionally, metabolic reprogramming occurs in ERα Y537S mutant cells. Consequently, we conducted a screen to identify metabolic proteins reducing intracellular levels of ERα Y537S and inhibiting cell proliferation. Methods: Nine metabolic proteins were identified in a siRNA-based screen, with phosphomannose mutase 2 (PMM2) showing the most promise. We measured the impact of PMM2 depletion on ERα stability and cell proliferation in ERα Y537S mutant cells. Additionally, we tested the effect of PMM2 reduction on the hyperactive phenotype of the mutant and its proliferation when combined with metastatic BC treatment drugs. Results: PMM2 emerged as a significant target due to its correlation with better relapse-free survival, overexpression in ERα-positive tumors, and its elevation in ERα Y537S-expressing cells. Depletion of PMM2 induces degradation of ERα Y537S, inhibits cell proliferation, and reduces ERα signaling. Notably, reducing PMM2 levels re-sensitizes ERα Y537S-expressing cells to certain ET drugs and CDK4/CDK6 inhibitors. Mechanistically, depletion of PMM2 leads to a reduction in ESR1 mRNA levels, resulting in decreased ERα receptor protein expression. Furthermore, reduction of PMM2 decreases FOXA1 levels, which plays a crucial role in ERα regulation. Conclusions: Our findings establish PMM2 as an innovative therapeutic target for metastatic BC expressing the ERα Y537S variant, offering alternative strategies for managing and treating this disease.
Cipolletti, M., Acconcia, F. (2024). PMM2 controls ERα levels and cell proliferation in ESR1 Y537S variant expressing breast cancer cells. MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR ENDOCRINOLOGY, 584, 112160 [10.1016/j.mce.2024.112160].