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J Biol Chem. 1992 May 15;267(14):9868-73.

Characterization of a temperature-sensitive mutation in the hormone binding domain of the human estrogen receptor. Studies in cell extracts and intact cells and their implications for hormone-dependent transcriptional activation.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801.


A previous report from this laboratory (Reese, J.C., and Katzenellenbogen, B. S. (1991) J. Biol. Chem. 266, 10880-10887) identified an estrogen receptor (ER) mutant which had a similar binding affinity for estradiol as wild-type ER but displayed a dose-response shift for estradiol in transactivation studies. In this study, we have utilized hormone binding, DNA binding, and gene transfer experiments to further characterize this mutant, which contains an alanine substitution for a cysteine at amino acid 447 in the hormone binding domain of the receptor. Hormone binding studies indicate that the C447A receptor is a temperature-sensitive mutant, whose instability is only apparent at elevated temperatures, and that ligand can stabilize the mutant receptor. Western blot analysis reveals that the temperature-sensitive loss of hormone binding is not attributable to a degradation of receptor protein, but rather is an inactivation of the receptor's hormone binding ability. In addition to the loss in the hormone binding capacity of the C447A mutant, this mutant shows a temperature-sensitive loss in the DNA binding ability of the receptor. Transactivation profiles of the mutant and wild-type receptors demonstrate that incubation of transfected cells with increasing concentrations of estradiol at more ambient temperatures shifts the mutant receptor's dose-response curves to the left, converging on the wild-type curve. Hence, these transactivation studies reveal that the dose-response shift observed for this mutant in cells reflects the measured instability of the hormone binding and DNA interaction of the C447A mutant that can be demonstrated in vitro. In addition, this temperature-sensitive ER mutant is of interest in that its DNA binding is now ligand-dependent with the result that transcriptional activation now parallels receptor occupancy by ligand, which is similar to other steroid hormone receptors.

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