Nuclear Receptors and Epigenetic Regulation

  • Ornella I. Selmin
  • Alberto PG Romagnolo
  • Donato F. RomagnoloEmail author
Reference work entry


The activity of nuclear receptor (NR) at target genes is regulated by the interaction with ligands, coactivators, corepressors, DNA, and histone-modifying proteins. These interactions influence chromatin status and transcription of genes encoding for factors that impinge on breast cancer processes such as cell proliferation, invasion and metastasis, DNA repair, and differentiation. Epigenetic mechanisms such as DNA methylation at CpG islands and histone modifications influence transcriptional activity directed by various NR including the estrogen, progesterone, aromatic hydrocarbon, vitamin D, and retinoic X receptor. In breast tissues, dietary compounds may alter cancer risk through agonistic and antagonistic interactions toward one or more NR. Examples of food ligands for NR include resveratrol, genistein, curcumin, vitamin D, and omega-3 fatty acids. Based on the information that ~80% of breast cancer cases are sporadic, i.e., lack a hereditary origin, studies that focus on the interaction of specific or combinations of food compounds with NR promise to unravel new epigenetic strategies against breast cancer.


Dietary ligands Nuclear receptors Epigenetics DNA methylation Histone modification Breast cancer prevention 

List of Abbreviations






Arachidonic acid


Amplified in breast cancer 1


Activation function domain 2


Aromatic hydrocarbon receptor


Aromatase inhibitor


Activator protein 1


Aromatic hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator


Breast cancer 1


cAMP-response element-binding protein


Cyclin D1


Cyclin E


Cyclin G2




Cyclin-dependent kinase 4


Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transition factor II






Caloric restriction


cAMP-response element


Cathepsin D


Cytochrome P450, family 1, subfamily A, polypeptide 1


Cytochrome P450, family 1, subfamily B, polypeptide 1


Cytochrome P450, family 24, subfamily A, polypeptide 1


Cytochrome P450, family 27, subfamily B, polypeptide 1


Docosahexaenoic acid


DNA methyltransferase


Epigallocatechin gallate


Eukaryotic histone methyltransferase 1


Eicosapentaenoic acid


Ephrin type-B receptor 3


Estrogen receptor


Estrogen receptor element


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1


Extra-virgin olive oil


Enhancer of zeste homolog 2


Forkhead box O1


Growth arrest and DNA damage 45


Glucocorticoid receptor interacting protein 1


Acetylated histone 3 at lysine 23


Trimethylated histone 3 at lysine 27


Methylated histone 3 at lysine 4


Acetylated histone 3 at lysine 9


Phosphorylated H3 at serine 10


Acetylated histone 4


Acetylated histone 4 at lysine 20


Trimethylated histone 4 at lysine 20


Histone acetyltransferase


Histone deacetylase


Histone demethylase


Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2


Holocarboxylase synthetase


Histone methyltransferase


Heterochromatin protein 1


Insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 4




Linoleic acid


Lithocholic acid


Loss of heterozygosity


Lysine demethylase 1




Methyl-binding domain protein 2


Methylated cytosine-binding protein 2


Mixed lineage kinase 3


Mixed lineage leukemia 3


Nuclear coactivator


Nuclear corepressor


Noncoding RNA


Nuclear factor kB


Nuclear receptor


Phosphoinositide 3-kinase


Phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3 kinase


Protein kinase A


Protein kinase C alpha


RNA polymerase II


Progesterone receptor


Progesterone receptor gene


Phosphatase and tensin homolog


Prostaglandin E synthase


Retinoic acid


Retinoic acid receptor


Retinoic acid responsive element


Retinoic X receptor

SET 7/9

Methylase histone-lysine N-methyltransferase SET domain 7/9




Sin 3 member A


Sirtuin 1


Silencing-mediator for retinoic and thyroid


SET and MYND domain-containing 2


Specificity protein 1


Steroid receptor coactivator 1


Signal transducer and activator of transcription 3


Switch/sucrose non-fermentable nucleosome factor




Tripartite motif-containing 6


Thyroid receptor-β


Vitamin D receptor


VDR-responsive element


Wnt inhibitory factor 1


Xenobiotic response element


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ornella I. Selmin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Alberto PG Romagnolo
    • 2
  • Donato F. Romagnolo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Nutritional SciencesUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  2. 2.University of Arizona Cancer Center, College of MedicineUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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