Dimerizing the estrogen receptor DNA binding domain enhances binding to estrogen response elements

Martin A. Kuntz, David J. Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this work, we provide a rationale for the finding that the estrogen receptor (ER) binds to its DNA response element as a homodimer in vivo. Binding of the monomer estrogen receptor DNA binding domain (ER DBD) to a palindromic, consensus estrogen response element (ERE) is increased 5-6-fold when the ER DBD is dimerized either by a monoclonal antibody that recognizes an attached epitope tag or by expressing the ER DBD as a single molecule in which the two monomers are joined by a peptide linker. Most of the increase in binding is due to stabilization of the ER DBD·ERE complex. We observed only an approximately 2.5-fold reduction in binding when a consensus ERE was replaced with widely spaced ERE half-sites, suggesting that the interaction between ER DBDs on the ERE is relatively weak, and that in full-length ER the DBDs can move independently of each other. To test binding to an imperfect palindrome, typical of the imperfect EREs found in almost all natural estrogen receptor responsive genes, we used the pS2 ERE. Even at high concentrations of ER DBD, specific binding of the ER DBD to the imperfect pS2 ERE was undetectable. Both of the dimerized ER DBDs exhibited efficient binding to the imperfect pS2 ERE, with an affinity at least 25-fold greater than monomer ER DBD. These data support the view that steroid receptor dimerization provides an important mechanism facilitating the recognition of naturally occurring, imperfect hormone response elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27949-27956
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number44
StatePublished - Oct 31 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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