Estrogen receptors (ERs α and β) enhance transcription in response to estrogens by binding to estrogen response elements (EREs) within target genes and utilizing transactivation functions (AF-1 and AF-2) to recruit p160 coactivator proteins. The ERs also enhance transcription in response to estrogens and antiestrogens by modulating the activity of the AP-1 protein complex. Here, we examine the role of AF-1 and AF-2 in ER action at AP-1 sites. Estrogen responses at AP-1 sites require the integrity of the ERα AF-1 and AF-2 activation surfaces and the complementary surfaces on the p160 coactivator GRIP1 (glucocorticoid receptor interacting protein 1), the NID/AF-1 region, and NR boxes. Thus, estrogen-liganded ERα utilizes the same protein-protein-contacts to transactivate at EREs and AP-1 sites. In contrast, antiestrogen responses are strongly inhibited by ERα AF-1 and weakly inhibited by AF-2. Indeed, ERα truncations that lack AF-1 enhance AP-1 activity in the presence of antiestrogens, but not estrogens. This phenotype resembles ERβ, which naturally lacks constitutive AF-1 activity. We conclude that the ERs enhance AP-1 responsive transcription by distinct mechanisms with different requirements for ER transactivation functions. We suggest that estrogen-liganded ER enhances AP-1 activity via interactions with p160s and speculate that antiestrogen-liganded ER enhances AP-1 activity via interactions with corepressors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology