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Cancer Res. 2007 May 15;67(10):5017-24.

Novel estrogen receptor-alpha binding sites and estradiol target genes identified by chromatin immunoprecipitation cloning in breast cancer.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois 60611, USA.


Estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) and its ligand estradiol play critical roles in breast cancer growth and are important therapeutic targets for this disease. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-on-chip, ligand-bound ERalpha was recently found to function as a master transcriptional regulator via binding to many cis-acting sites genome-wide. Here, we used an alternative technology (ChIP cloning) and identified 94 ERalpha target loci in breast cancer cells. The ERalpha-binding sites contained both classic estrogen response elements and nonclassic binding sequences, showed specific transcriptional activity in reporter gene assay, and interacted with the key transcriptional regulators, including RNA polymerase II and nuclear receptor coactivator-3. The great majority of the binding sites were located in either introns or far distant to coding regions of genes. Forty-three percent of the genes that lie within 50 kb to an ERalpha-binding site were regulated by estradiol. Most of these genes are novel estradiol targets encoding receptors, signaling messengers, and ion binders/transporters. mRNA profiling in estradiol-treated breast cancer cell lines and tissues revealed that these genes are highly ERalpha responsive both in vitro and in vivo. Among estradiol-induced genes, Wnt11 was found to increase cell survival by significantly reducing apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Taken together, we showed novel genomic binding sites of ERalpha that regulate a novel set of genes in response to estradiol in breast cancer. Our findings suggest that at least a subset of these genes, including Wnt11, may play important in vivo and in vitro biological roles in breast cancer.

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