Unique Protein Determinants of the Subtype-selective Ligand Responses of the Estrogen Receptors (ERα and ERβ) at AP-1 Sites

Ross V. Weatherman, Thomas S. Scanlan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The two subtypes of human estrogen receptor, α (hERα) and β (hERβ), regulate transcription at an AP-1 response element differently in response to estradiol and the anti-estrogens tamoxifen and raloxifene. To better understand the protein determinants of these differences, chimeric and deletional mutants of the N-terminal domain and the F region of ERα and ERβ were made and tested in transient transfection assays at the classical estrogen response element (ERE) site as well as at an AP-1 site. Although the same regions on each receptor subtype appeared to be primarily responsible for estradiol activation at an ERE and in HeLa cells, major differences between ERα and ERβ mutants were seen in the estrogen and anti-estrogen responses at an AP-1 site. This differential ligand response maps to the N-terminal domain and the F region. These results suggest that different estrogenic and anti-estrogenic ligands use different mechanisms of activation and inhibition at the AP-1 site. In contrast to previous studies, this work also shows that many of subtype-specific responses are not transferred to the other subtype by swapping the N-terminal domain of the receptor. This implies that there are other unique surfaces presented by each subtype outside of the N-terminal domain, and these surfaces can play a role in subtype-selective signaling. Together, these data suggest a complex interface between ligand, response element, and receptor that underlies ligand activation in estrogen signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3827-3832
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Feb 9 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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