Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(4):470-485. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4125


The Function of Steroid Receptor Coactivator-1 in Normal Tissues and Cancer

Claire A. Walsh1, Li Qin2, Jean Ching-Yi Tien2, Leonie S. Young1, Jianming Xu2, 3,✉

1. Endocrine Oncology Research Group, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Dublin, Ireland;
2. Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA;
3. Luzhou Medical College, Luzhou, Sichuan 646000, China.

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Walsh CA, Qin L, Tien JCY, Young LS, Xu J. The Function of Steroid Receptor Coactivator-1 in Normal Tissues and Cancer. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(4):470-485. doi:10.7150/ijbs.4125. Available from

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In 1995, the steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) was identified as the first authentic steroid receptor coactivator. Since then, the SRC proteins have remained at the epicenter of coregulator biology, molecular endocrinology and endocrine-related cancer. Cumulative works on SRC-1 have shown that it is primarily a nuclear receptor coregulator and functions to construct highly specific enzymatic protein complexes which can execute efficient and successful transcriptional activation of designated target genes. The versatile nature of SRC-1 enables it to respond to steroid dependent and steroid independent stimulation, allowing it to bind across many families of transcription factors to orchestrate and regulate complex physiological reactions. This review highlights the multiple functions of SRC-1 in the development and maintenance of normal tissue functions as well as its major role in mediating hormone receptor responsiveness. Insights from genetically manipulated mouse models and clinical data suggest SRC-1 is significantly overexpressed in many cancers, in particular, cancers of the reproductive tissues. SRC-1 has been associated with cellular proliferation and tumor growth but its major tumorigenic contributions are promotion and execution of breast cancer metastasis and mediation of resistance to endocrine therapies. The ability of SRC-1 to coordinate multiple signaling pathways makes it an important player in tumor cells' escape of targeted therapy.

Keywords: nuclear receptor, coactivator, SRC-1, transcription, development, cancer.