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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2001 Feb 14;172(1-2):223-33.

Estrogen receptor alpha and estrogen receptor-related receptor alpha1 compete for binding and coactivator.

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Gene Regulation Group, Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology (LRDT), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), PO Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, USA.


The human estrogen receptor (ERalpha) and the human estrogen receptor-related receptor (ERRalpha1, NR3B1a) are members of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. We previously cloned an isoform of ERRalpha1 cDNA and demonstrated that ERRalpha1 binds to the human lactoferrin gene promoter and enhances estrogen responsiveness during transient transfection experiments. In this study, we show that ERRalpha1 and ERalpha may interfere in each other's transcriptional activity by competition for binding and coactivator. A VP16-ERRalpha1 chimera was constructed and transiently transfected into human endometrial carcinoma HEC-1B cells. This chimera activated reporter constructs containing the human lactoferrin gene estrogen response element (ERE) and the synthetic palindromic 3X-ERE, suggesting that ERRalpha1 binds to these EREs. Therefore, ERRalpha1 can compete with ERalpha for binding to the same EREs. ERRalpha1 is organized into modules which include a N-terminal region that shows repression function, a Zn-finger region that binds DNA and an activation region at the C terminus. The activation function of ERRalpha1 was mapped to the conserved AF2 region in the C-terminus by deletion analysis. The transactivation activity of ERRalpha1 can be enhanced by coactivator (SRC-1a) and suppressed by ERalpha in the presence of estrogen, suggesting that SRC-1a is required by both receptors for their activity. The repression of ERRalpha1 activation function by estrogen bound ERalpha, however, could not be reversed by increasing concentration of SRC-1a in the cells. This finding is consistent with the squelching phenomenon that exists between ERalpha and other steroid receptor family members. The studies demonstrated that ERRalpha1 and ERalpha may potentially regulate the same target gene independently as well as interfere with each other's functional activity by competition for binding and coactivator.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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