Analysis of ligand dependence and hormone response element synergy in transcription by estrogen receptor

Sandra Mattick, Kevin Glenn, Georgius De Haan, David J. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work we examined two questions: (1) Is the low, but readily detectable, ability of estrogen receptor (ER) to activate transcription in the absence of added 178-estradiol caused by traces of estrogen in the growth medium, or by a weak ligand-independent ability of ER to activate transcription? (2) Does the ER exhibit synergistic activation of transcription on reporter genes containing multiple estrogen response elements (EREs)? To study these questions we developed a powerful new reporter gene, containing four EREs, which achieves inductions of up to 330-fold in the presence of Iiganded ER. We provided several types of evidence indicating that under standard cell culture conditions unliganded ER is unable to activate transcription. We demonstrated that when cells are grown in serum-free medium, estrogenic compounds may be in the base tissue culture medium. We demonstrated a strong cell and ER-dependence in transcriptional synergy, and suggest that cooperative binding of ER to multiple EREs can be responsible for transcriptional synergy in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)285-294
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Mar 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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