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SHs are synthesized from cholesterol in the adrenal cortex (glucocorticoids, mineralocorticoids, and adrenal androgens), the testes (testicular androgens, estrogen), and the ovary and placenta (estrogen and progestogen or progestins) (Payne AH & Hales DB 2004; Hu J et al. 2010;). SHs reach their target cells via the blood, where they are bound to specific carrier proteins (Grishkovskaya I et al. 2000; Hammond GL 2016). SHs detach from the carrier proteins and because of their lipophilic nature readily diffuse through the plasma membrane of cells (Oren I et al. 2004). Within the target cells SHs bind to steroid hormone receptors (SHRs) which are present in a heterocomplex with heat shock protein HSP90 and co-chaperones (e.g., immunophilins p23) (Echeverria PC & Picard D 2010). The ATP-bound form of HSP90 and chaperone-mediated conformational changes are required to keep SHRs in a ligand binding-competent state (McLaughlin SH et al. 2002; Pratt WB et al. 2008; Krukenberg KA et al. 2011).
RUNX2 expression is regulated by estrogen signaling, and RUNX2 is implicated in breast cancer development and metastasis (reviewed in Wysokinski et al. 2014). Besides estrogen receptor alpha (ESR1) and estrogen-related receptor alpha (ERRA) (Kammerer et al. 2013), RUNX2 transcription is also regulated by TWIST1 (Yang, Yang et al. 2011), glucocorticoid receptor (NR3C1) (Zhang et al. 2012), NKX3-2 (BAPX1) (Tribioli and Lufkin 1999, Lengner et al. 2005), DLX5 (Robledo et al. 2002, Lee et al. 2005) and MSX2 (Lee et al. 2005). RUNX2 can autoregulate, by directly inhibiting its own transcription (Drissi et al. 2000). Several E3 ubiquitin ligases target RUNX2 for proteasome-mediated degradation: FBXW7a (Kumar et al. 2015), STUB1 (CHIP) (Li et al. 2008), SMURF1 (Zhao et al. 2003, Yang et al. 2014), WWP1 (Jones et al. 2006), and SKP2 (Thacker et al. 2016). Besides formation of RUNX2:CBFB heterodimers, transcriptional activity of RUNX2 is regulated by binding to a number of other transcription factors, for example SOX9 (Zhou et al. 2006, TWIST1 (Bialek et al. 2004) and RB1 (Thomas et al. 2001).
RUNX2 regulates expression of several genes implicated in cell migration during normal development and bone metastasis of breast cancer cells. RUNX2 stimulates transcription of the ITGA5 gene, encoding Integrin alpha 5 (Li et al. 2016) and the ITGBL1 gene, encoding Integrin beta like protein 1 (Li et al. 2015). RUNX2 mediated transcription of the MMP13 gene, encoding Colagenase 3 (Matrix metalloproteinase 13), is stimulated by AKT mediated phosphorylation of RUNX2 (Pande et al. 2013). RUNX2 is implicated in positive regulation of AKT signaling by stimulating expression of AKT-activating TORC2 complex components MTOR and RICTOR, which may contribute to survival of breast cancer cells (Tandon et al. 2014).
RUNX2 inhibits CDKN1A transcription, thus preventing CDKN1A-induced cell cycle arrest. Phosphorylation of RUNX2 by CDK4 in response to high glucose enhances RUNX2-mediated repression of the CDKN1A gene in endothelial cells (Pierce et al. 2012). In mice, Runx2-mediated repression of Cdkn1a may contribute to the development of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (Kuo et al. 2009). RUNX2 can stimulate transcription of the LGALS3 gene, encoding Galectin-3 (Vladimirova et al. 2008, Zhang et al. 2009). Galectin 3 is expressed in myeloid progenitors and its levels increase during the maturation process (Le Marer 2000).
For a review of RUNX2 function, please refer to Long 2012 and Ito et al. 2015.