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Mol Endocrinol. 1992 Mar;6(3):355-64.

Estrogen response module of the mouse lactoferrin gene contains overlapping chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor and estrogen receptor-binding elements.

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Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, National Institute of Environmental Health Science, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


Transcription of the lactoferrin gene is stimulated by estrogen in mouse uterus. To study direct estrogen regulation of this gene at the molecular level, we cloned and analyzed the 5'-flanking region of the mouse lactoferrin gene. Sequence analysis revealed a putative estrogen-responsive element (ERE) overlapping with a chicken ovalbumin up-stream promoter (COUP) element located at position -349 to -329 from the transcription initiation site. The ERE element differed from the consensus ERE sequence by one nucleotide at the second position of the 3' half of the element (G to A); the COUP element differed by one nucleotide from the chicken COUP element. Synthetic oligonucleotide containing the mouse lactoferrin COUP/ERE element was inserted into the reporter chloramphenicol acetyltransferase vector, then transiently transfected into human endometrium carcinoma RL95-2 cells to assess hormone responsiveness. We found that the COUP/ERE element confers estrogen action to both homologous and heterologous promoters. Nuclear proteins from diethylstilbestrol-treated mouse uteri and proteins from estrogen receptor expression vector-transfected RL95-2 whole cell extract bound in vitro to COUP/ERE element specifically, as assessed by band-shift assay. By using antibodies specific to the estrogen receptor and the COUP transcription factor, we demonstrated that both proteins were present in mouse uterine tissue and interacted specifically with the COUP/ERE element, as shown by the superband shift. Competition experiments with specific ERE or COUP oligonucleotides also confirmed the interaction between lactoferrin COUP/ERE element with the estrogen receptor and the COUP transcription factor. Therefore, we named this sequence mERM, the mouse lactoferrin estrogen response module.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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