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Mol Endocrinol. 2016 Oct;30(10):1046-1058. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

The Estrogen Receptor α-Cistrome Beyond Breast Cancer.

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Division of Molecular Pathology, The Netherlands Cancer Institute, 1066 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Although many tissues express estrogen receptor (ER)α, most studies focus on breast cancer where ERα occupies just a small fraction of its total repertoire of potential DNA-binding sites, based on sequence. This raises the question: Can ERα occupy these other potential binding sites in a different context? Ligands, splice variants, posttranslational modifications, and acquired mutations of ERα affect its conformation, which may alter chromatin interactions. To date, literature describes the DNA-binding sites of ERα (the ERα cistrome) in breast, endometrium, liver, and bone, in which the receptor mainly binds to enhancers. Chromosomal boundaries provide distinct areas for dynamic gene regulation between tissues, where the usage of enhancers deviates. Interactions of ERα with enhancers and its transcriptional complex depend on the proteome, which differs per cell type. This review discusses the biological variables that influence ERα cistromics, using reports from human specimens, cell lines, and mouse tissues, to assess whether ERα genomics in breast cancer can be translated to other tissue types.

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