Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

The RNA binding protein CPEB2 regulates hormone sensing in mammary gland development and luminal breast cancer

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Science Advances  15 May 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 20, eaax3868
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax3868


Organogenesis is directed by coordinated cell proliferation and differentiation programs. The hierarchical networks of transcription factors driving mammary gland development and function have been widely studied. However, the contribution of posttranscriptional gene expression reprogramming remains largely unexplored. The 3′ untranslated regions of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) contain combinatorial ensembles of cis-regulatory elements that define transcript-specific regulation of protein synthesis through their cognate RNA binding proteins. We analyze the contribution of the RNA binding cytoplasmic polyadenylation element–binding (CPEB) protein family, which collectively regulate mRNA translation for about 30% of the genome. We find that CPEB2 is required for the integration of hormonal signaling by controlling the protein expression from a subset of ER/PR- regulated transcripts. Furthermore, CPEB2 is critical for the development of ER-positive breast tumors. This work uncovers a previously unknown gene expression regulation level in breast morphogenesis and tumorigenesis, coordinating sequential transcriptional and posttranscriptional layers of gene expression regulation.

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