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Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Sep;108(9):867-72.

Interactions of dietary estrogens with human estrogen receptors and the effect on estrogen receptor-estrogen response element complex formation.

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Department of Chemistry, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana 07118, USA.


Epidemiologic and experimental studies support the hypothesis that dietary estrogens from plant sources (phytoestrogens) may play a role in the prevention of breast and prostate cancer. The molecular mechanisms for such chemopreventive effect are still unclear. We investigated the possibility that phytoestrogens may bind differentially to estrogen receptor proteins (ER[alpha] and ERss) and affect the interactions of the ligand-ER complexes with different estrogen response element (ERE) sequences. We used fluorescence polarization to measure the binding affinities of genistein, coumestrol, daidzein, glyceollin, and zearalenone for human ER[alpha] and ERss. Competition binding experiments revealed higher affinity of the phytoestrogens for ERss than for ER[alpha]. Genistein [median inhibitory concentration 12nM] is the most potent and has the same relative binding affinity for ERss as 17ss-estradiol. We also studied the effect of these phytoestrogens on the ability of ER[alpha] and ERss to associate with specific DNA sequences (EREs). The direct binding of human recombinant estrogen receptors to fluorescein-labeled EREs indicates that phytoestrogens can cause conformational changes in both human ERs, which results in altered affinities of the complexes for the ERE from the Xenopus vitellogenin A2 gene and an ERE from the human pS2 gene.

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