Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exists in the nucleus of highly proliferative cells where it functions as a transcription factor. Although EGFR has transactivational activity, it lacks a DNA binding domain and, therefore, may require a DNA binding transcription cofactor for its transcriptional function. Here, we report that EGFR physically interacts with signal transducers and activators of transcription 3 (STAT3) in the nucleus, leading to transcriptional activation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). In breast carcinomas, nuclear EGFR positively correlates with iNOS. This study describes a mode of transcriptional control involving cooperated efforts of STAT3 and nuclear EGFR. Our work suggests that the deregulated iNOS/NO pathway may partly contribute to the malignant biology of tumor cells with high levels of nuclear EGFR and STAT3.
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