Differential requirements of Hsp90 and DNA for the formation of estrogen receptor homodimers and heterodimers

Emily Powell, Yidan Wang, David J. Shapiro, Wei Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The two estrogen receptor (ER) subforms, ERα and ERβ, are capable of forming DNA-binding homodimers and heterodimers. Although binding to DNA is thought to stabilize ER dimers, how ERα/α, ERβ/β, and ERα/β dimerization is regulated by DNA and the chaperone protein Hsp90 is poorly understood. Using our highly optimized bioluminescence resonance energy transfer assays in conjunction with assays for transcriptional activation of ERs, we determined that DNA binding appears to play a minor role in the stabilization of ER dimers, especially in the case of ERβ/β homodimers. These findings suggest that ER dimers form before they associate with chromatin and that DNA binding plays a minor role in stabilizing ER dimers. Additionally, although Hsp90 is essential for the proper dimerization of ERα/α and ERα/β, it is not required for the proper dimerization of ERβ/β. Despite this, Hsp90 is critical for the estrogen-dependent transcriptional activity of the ERβ/β homodimer. Thus, Hsp90 is implicated as an important regulator of distinct aspects of ERα and ERβ action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16125-16134
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number21
StatePublished - May 21 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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