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Biochemistry. 1998 Dec 8;37(49):17287-98.

Estrogen receptor alpha requires no accessory factors for high-affinity binding to a consensus response element.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706, USA.


Estrogen receptor (ER) alpha is commonly thought to bind to a consensus estrogen response element (ERE) as a homodimer, but previous experiments have not ruled out the presence of other proteins in the ERalpha/ERE complex. To characterize this interaction in more detail, we overexpressed mouse (m) ERalpha in a baculovirus system, using the selective advantage of the apoptosis inhibitor p35. Recombinant mERalpha possesses the predicted molecular weight and binds 17beta-estradiol and an oligonucleotide containing a consensus vitellogenin ERE with high affinity. Over a wide concentration range of mERalpha protein (0.1-50 nM), only one complex was detected between mERalpha and vitellogenin ERE in gel shift assays. The ratio of E2:vitellogenin ERE bound by mERalpha was close to 2:1, and each complex contained only one ERE. The molecular weight of the complex was determined to be 160 000, very close to that predicted for two mERalpha proteins and one ERE oligonucleotide, therefore providing strong evidence that no other proteins were present. Recombinant mERalpha was purified such that it was the only protein observable by silver stain. Purified mERalpha and mERalpha in a nuclear extract behaved identically in Ferguson analysis, providing more evidence that only mERalpha was binding to the ERE. Purified mERalpha bound vitellogenin ERE with high affinity (Kd = 0. 92 +/- 0.20 nM), indicating that no other proteins are necessary for high-affinity mERalpha interaction with a consensus ERE. To determine whether ERalpha in an estrogen-responsive mammalian tissue behaves the same as the overexpressed mERalpha, we tested rat uterine cytosol by Ferguson analysis. ERalpha in rat uterine cytosol behaved identically to overexpressed mERalpha, suggesting that ERalpha in the uterine extract also binds to DNA predominantly as a homodimer with no additional proteins.

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