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Mol Endocrinol. 1990 Jul;4(7):1027-33.

A microtiter well assay for quantitative measurement of estrogen receptor binding to estrogen-responsive elements.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York 14642.


Reproducible, rapid measurement of estrogen receptor (ER) binding to DNA was accomplished in microtiter wells treated so that ER-DNA complexes or DNA bound in preference to free ER. Mixtures of 35S-labeled DNA and [3H]estrogen-charged ER ([3H]ER), incubated to equilibrium in microfuge tubes, were transferred to microtiter wells previously treated with histone followed by gelatin. After binding of the DNA or ER-DNA complex to the treated wells, free ER was removed by washing. Radioactivity retained in each well was measured by placing individual wells from snap-apart microtiter plates directly in scintillation fluid. Binding of DNA was saturable, and ER-DNA complex binding was complete within 2 h at 4 C. The use of 35S-labeled DNA and [3H]ER allowed stoichiometric determination of ER bound to DNA. The amount of ER specifically bound to a consensus estrogen-responsive element (ERE) containing the inverted repeat GGTCAgagTGACC was determined by comparing ER bound to plasmid containing or lacking the ERE. At saturating concentrations of ER, plasmids bearing one, two, and four EREs in tandem bound approximately one, two, and four dimeric ER molecules, respectively. Scatchard analysis of saturation binding data revealed a Kd of 0.15 nM for specific ER binding to a single ERE site. Thus, the assay detects ER retaining both DNA-binding and estrogen-binding functions. ER complexed with DNA in the well was also detected using a monoclonal antibody specific for the receptor. Simple modifications of this method would allow study of other DNA-protein interactions.

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