The E6-associated protein (E6-AP) is a dual function protein. It acts as an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase as well as a steroid hormone receptor coactivator. Considering the influence of steroid hormone receptors and their coactivators in the normal development and tumorigenesis of reproductive organs of both genders, we examined the roles of E6-AP in the tumorigenesis of breast and prostate tissues. We demonstrated that the expression of E6-AP protein is decreased in human invasive breast and prostate carcinomas compared with their adjacent normal tissues, and this down-regulation of E6-AP is accompanied by the up-regulation of estrogen receptor (ER)-α in breast and androgen receptor (AR) in prostate carcinomas. Furthermore, our ire vivo data from E6-AP-knockout animals indicated that the expression levels of ERα and AR are increased in E6-AP-null mammary and prostate glands, respectively, when compared with that of normal control animals, suggesting that E6-AP modulates the protein levels of ERα in breast and AR in prostate glands.
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