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EMBO J. 1992 Dec;11(12):4641-52.

Hormone-regulated v-rel estrogen receptor fusion protein: reversible induction of cell transformation and cellular gene expression.

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Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP), Vienna, Austria.


We describe the construction of a v-rel estrogen receptor fusion protein (v-relER) which allows the regulation of v-rel oncoprotein activity by hormone. In the presence of estrogen, v-relER readily transformed primary chicken fibroblasts and bone marrow cells in vitro. In both cell types, v-rel-specific transformation was critically dependent on the presence of estrogen or the estrogen agonist 4-hydroxytamoxifen (OHT). Withdrawal of estrogen or application of an estrogen antagonist, ICI164,384 (ICI) caused a reversal of the transformed phenotype. We also demonstrate that the v-relER protein binds to NF-kappa B sites in an estrogen-dependent manner, thereby showing that sequence-specific DNA binding of v-relER is critical for the activation of its transforming capacity. In transient transfection experiments, we failed to demonstrate a clear repressor or activator function of the v-rel moiety in v-relER. However, in v-relER-transformed bone marrow cells, estrogen and OHT induced elevated mRNA levels of two cellular genes whose expression is constitutive and high in v-rel-transformed cells. These results suggest that v-rel might exert part of its activity as an activator of rel-responsive genes.

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