Estrogen receptor α (ERα) binds to specific target DNA sequences, estrogen response elements (EREs), to regulate estrogen-responsive gene expression. The progesterone receptor (PR) gene has been used extensively as a marker of estrogen responsiveness. Although we previously identified cis elements within 1 kb of the PR-B transcription start site that are associated with ERα and help to confer estrogen responsiveness, the identification of ERα binding sites far removed from the transcription start site suggested that long-range regulation of this gene may occur. We now show that eight regions of the PR gene from 311 kb upstream to 4 kb downstream of the PR-B transcription start site interact with ERα and that coactivator proteins and acetylated histones are selectively associated with these gene regions. Specific PR gene regions confer estrogen responsiveness to a heterologous reporter plasmid, and mutation of EREs within these regions diminishes estrogen-induced transactivation. Importantly, chromosome conformation capture assays reveal ERα- and ligand-dependent interactions between proximal and distal PR gene regions. Taken together, our studies suggest that distal regions of the PR gene participate in the dynamic regulation of this gene and that the coordinated action of proximal and distal PR gene regions allows cells to respond to changes in hormone levels with extraordinary versatility and sensitivity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology