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J Amino Acids. 2011;2011:812540. doi: 10.4061/2011/812540. Epub 2011 Jul 26.

The dynamic structure of the estrogen receptor.

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  • 1Department of Basic Sciences, The Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA 18510, USA.


The estrogen receptor (ER) mediates most of the biological effects of estrogens at the level of gene regulation by interacting through its site-specific DNA and with other coregulatory proteins. In recent years, new information regarding the dynamic structural nature of ER has emerged. The physiological effects of estrogen are manifested through ER's two isoforms, ER(α) and ER(β). These two isoforms (ER(α) and ER(β)) display distinct regions of sequence homology. The three-dimensional structures of the DNA-binding domain (DBD) and ligand-binding domain (LBD) have been solved, whereas no three-dimensional natively folded structure for the ER N-terminal domain (NTD) is available to date. However, insights about the structural and functional correlations regarding the ER NTD have recently emerged. In this paper, we discuss the knowledge about the structural characteristics of the ER in general and how the structural features of the two isoforms differ, and its subsequent role in gene regulation.

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