CARM1 mediates the ligand-independent and tamoxifen-resistant activation of the estrogen receptor α by cAMP
Sophie Carascossa , Peter Dudek , Bruno Cenni , Pierre-André Briand , and Didier Picard
The estrogen receptor α (ERα) is activated as a transcription factor by both estrogen and a large variety of other extracellular signals. The mechanisms of this ligand-independent activation, notably by cAMP signaling, are still largely unknown. We now close the gap in the signaling pathway between cAMP and ERα. Whereas the direct phosphorylation of ERα by the cAMP-activated protein kinase A (PKA) is dispensable, the phosphorylation of the coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) by PKA at a single serine is necessary and sufficient for direct binding to the unliganded hormone-binding domain (HBD) of ERα, and the interaction is necessary for cAMP activation of ERα. Sustained PKA activity promoting a constitutive interaction may contribute to tamoxifen resistance of breast tumors. Binding and activation involve a novel regulatory groove of the ERα HBD. As a result, depending on the activating signal, ERα recruits different coactivator complexes to regulate alternate sets of target genes.