Effects of the endocrine disruptors atrazine and PCB 153 on the protein expression of MCF-7 human cells

Jean Paul Lasserre, Fred Fack, Dominique Revets, Sébastien Planchon, Jenny Renaut, Lucien Hoffmann, Arno C. Gutleb, Claude P. Muller, Torsten Bohn*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

101 Citations (Scopus)


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and a number of pesticides can act as endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs). These molecules exhibit hormonal activity in vivo, and can therefore interact and perturb normal physiological functions. Many of these compounds are persistent in the environment, and their bioaccumulation may constitute a significant threat for human health. Physiological abnormalities following exposure to these xenobiotic compounds go along with alterations at the protein level of individual cells. In this study, MCF-7 cells were exposed to environmentally relevant concentrations of atrazine, PCB153 (100 ppb, respectively), 17-β estradiol (positive control, 10 nM) and a negative control (solvent) for t = 24 h (n = 3 replicates/exposure group). After trizol extraction and protein solubilization, protein expression levels were studied by 2D-DIGE. Proteins differentially expressed were excised, trypsin-digested, and identified by MALDI-ToF-ToF, followed by NCBInr database search. 2D-DIGE experiments demonstrated that 49 spots corresponding to 29 proteins were significantly differentially expressed in MCF-7 cells (>1.5-fold, P < 0.05, Student's paired t test). These proteins belonged to various cellular compartments (nucleus, cytosol, membrane), and varied in function; 88% of proteins were down-regulated during atrazine exposure, whereas 75% of proteins were up-regulated by PCB153. Affected proteins included those regulating oxidative stress such as superoxide dismutase and structural proteins such as actin or tropomyosin, which may explain morphological changes of cells already observed under the microscope. This study highlights the susceptibility of human cells to compounds with endocrine disrupting properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5485-5496
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2009


  • 17-β estradiol
  • 2D-DIGE
  • Atrazine
  • Endocrine disruptors
  • Environment
  • MCF-7 human cells
  • PCB153
  • Proteomics


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