Prothymosin alpha selectively enhances estrogen receptor transcriptional activity by interacting with a repressor of estrogen receptor activity

P. G.V. Martini, R. Delage-Mourroux, D. M. Kraichely, B. S. Katzenellenbogen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We find that prothymosin alpha (PTα) selectively enhances transcriptional activation by the estrogen receptor (ER) but not transcriptional activity of other nuclear hormone receptors. This selectivity for ER is explained by PTα interaction not with ER, but with a 37-kDa protein denoted REA, for repressor of estrogen receptor activity, a protein that we have previously shown binds to ER, blocking coactivator binding to ER. We isolated PTα, known to be a chromatin-remodeling protein associated with cell proliferation, using REA as bait in a yeast two-hybrid screen with a cDNA library from MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. PTα increases the magnitude of ERα transcriptional activity three- to fourfold. It shows lesser enhancement of ERβ transcriptional activity and has no influence on the transcriptional activity of other nuclear hormone receptors (progesterone receptor, glucocorticoid receptor, thyroid hormone receptor, or retinoic acid receptor) or on the basal activity of ERs. In contrast, the steroid receptor coactivator SRC-1 increases transcriptional activity of all of these receptors. Cotransfection of PTα or SRC-1 with increasing amounts of REA, as well as competitive glutathione S-transferase pulldown and mammalian two-hybrid studies, show that REA competes with PTα (or SRC-1) for regulation of ER transcriptional activity and suppresses the ER stimulation by PTα or SRC-1, indicating that REA can function as an anticoactivator in cells. Our data support a model in which PTα, which does not interact with ER, selectively enhances the transcriptional activity of the ER but not that of other nuclear receptors by recruiting the repressive REA protein away from ER, thereby allowing effective coactivation of ER with SRC-1 or other coregulators. The ability of PTα to directly interact in vitro and in vivo with REA, a selective coregulator of the ER, thereby enabling tile interaction of ER with coactivators, appears to explain its ability to selectively enhance ER transcriptional activity. These findings highlight a new role for PTα as a coregulator activity-modulating protein that confers receptor specificity. Proteins such as PTα represent an additional regulatory component that defines a novel paradigm enabling receptor-selective enhancement of transcriptional activity by coactivators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6224-6232
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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