VDAC1 and SERCA3 Mediate Progesterone-Triggered Ca2+ Signaling in Breast Cancer Cells

Progesterone is a biphasic hormone whose confounding role in breast cancer cells involves an initial proliferative surge, followed by sustained growth arrest. Recently we reported that progesterone induces a time- and concentration-dependent release of reactive oxygen species and thus regulates the antiproliferative activity in the breast cancer cell line. Furthermore, the expression of p27, a crucial cell cycle control protein, was regulated by binding of progesterone on progesterone receptor B, thus leading to antiproliferative signaling via multiple signaling pathways including p53, PTEN, and antioxidant systems. Here, we performed an LC–MS/MS analysis of three different breast cancer cell lines. Bioinformatics data analysis and functional classification of proteins revealed a role of progesterone in calcium signaling in MCF-7 cells, and the major differentially expressed calcium regulators were S100A11, S100A10, calreticulin, VDAC1, SERCA3, and SERCA1. Later on we confirmed it by a cell-line-based system having a calcium cameleon sensor targeted at endoplasmic reticulum and found moderate calcium efflux from endoplasmic reticulum upon progesterone treatment. Real-time PCR, Western blot, and TMRM staining confirmed the role of calcium signaling regulators VDAC1 and SERCA3 in progesterone response. Taking together all of these results with our previous studies, we suggest that progesterone, by regulating important proteins involved in calcium signaling and transport, can modulate cell proliferation and cell death. Furthermore, our research may open new avenues for the hypothesis that surgery conducted during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle might facilitate improved patient survival.