Analysis of mechanisms that determine dominant negative estrogen receptor effectiveness

David J. Schodin, Yao Zhuang, David J. Shapiro, Benita S. Katzenellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


To analyze the mechanisms by which estrogen receptor (ER) activity is suppressed by dominant negative mutants, we examined the role of specific ER functions and domains in transcriptional repression. We previously described three transcriptionally inactive human ER mutants (the frameshift mutant S554fs, the point mutant L540Q, and the truncated receptor ER1-530), which act as effective dominant negative mutants, inhibiting the activity of wild type ER when they are co-expressed in mammalian cells. After additional mutational modifications, the ability of the ER mutants to suppress the activity of wild type ER was analyzed in cotransfection assays of the dominant negative mutants and wild type ER and an estrogen-responsive reporter gene (2ERE-TATA-CAT or 2ERE-pS2-CAT). Eliminating the ability of the three dominant negative mutants to bind to estrogen response element (ERE) DNA (by introducing three point mutations in their DNA binding domains) dramatically reduced, but did not completely abolish, the dominant negative activity of the ER mutants. The mutation G521R, which rendered the three mutants incapable of binding estradiol, also reduced, but did not abolish, their dominant negative activity. Immunoprecipitation with monoclonal or flag antibodies followed by Western blotting demonstrated that each of the original dominant negative ER mutants formed heterodimers with wild type ER. Rendering the dominant negative mutants dimerization deficient by the mutation L507R strongly reduced, but did not eliminate, their dominant negative activity. Deletion of the N-terminal A/B domain resulted in the nearly complete loss of inhibitory activity of the three dominant negative mutants. However, these double mutants retained their ability to heterodimerize with wild type ER, suggesting that dominant negative interference also occurs at an additional step beyond dimerization. Our data indicate that competition for ERE binding, formation of inactive heterodimers, and specific transcriptional silencing can all contribute to the dominant negative phenotype and that these receptors suppress the activity of wild type ER by acting at multiple steps in the ER-response pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31163-31171
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
StatePublished - Dec 29 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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