Estrogen Receptor Binding to DNA Is Not Required for Its Activity through the Nonclassical AP1 Pathway

Monika Jakacka, Masafumi Ito, Jeffrey Weiss, Pei Yu Chien, Barry D. Gehm, J. Larry Jameson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Scopus citations


In the classical signaling pathway, the estrogen receptor (ER) binds directly to estrogen response elements (EREs) to regulate gene transcription. To test the hypothesis that the nonclassical pathway involves ER interactions with other proteins rather than direct binding to DNA, mutations were introduced into the DNA binding domain (DBD) of the mouse ERα. The effects of these DBD mutations were examined in DNA binding assays using reporter constructs containing either EREs (classical) or AP1 (nonclassical) response elements. Using the AP1 reporter, there was a reversal of ER action relative to that seen with the ERE reporter. Estradiol induced suppression, and the antiestrogen ICI 182,780 stimulated transcription of the AP1 reporter. DBD mutations in the proximal (P-box) of the first zinc finger of the ER (E207A/G208A and E207G/G208S) eliminated ERE binding. These mutants were inactive using the ERE reporter but retained partial or full activity with the AP1 reporter. The DBD mutant ERs interacted with Jun when tested in mammalian cell two-hybrid assays. Two mutations (K366D and I362R) in the ER ligand binding domain known to alter coactivator interactions impaired transcriptional responses using either the ERE or AP1 reporters. We concluded that ER action through the AP1 response element involves interactions with other promoter-bound proteins instead of, or in addition to, direct binding to DNA. Interactions with coactivators were required for both pathways. These data supported a model in which ER-mediated transcriptional activation or repression is dependent on the ligand and the nature of the response element in the target gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13615-13621
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 27 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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