Identification of an estrogen response element in the 3'-flanking region of the murine c-fos protooncogene

S. M. Hyder, G. M. Stancel, Z. Nawaz, D. P. McDonnell, D. S. Loose-Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


We have used transient transfection assays with reporter plasmids expressing chloramphenicol acetyltransferase, linked to regions of mouse c-fos, to identify a specific estrogen response element (ERE) in this protooncogene. This element is located in the untranslated 3′-flanking region of the c-fos gene, 5 kilobases (kb) downstream from the c-fos promoter and 1.5 kb downstream of the poly(A) signal. This element confers estrogen responsiveness to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporters linked to both the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter and the homologous c-fos promoter. Deletion analysis localized the response element to a 200-base pair fragment which contains the element GGTCACCACAGCC that resembles the consensus ERE sequence GGTCACAGTGACC originally identified in Xenopus vitellogenin A2 gene. A synthetic 36-base pair oligodeoxynucleotide containing this c-fos sequence conferred estrogen inducibility to the thymidine kinase promoter. The corresponding sequence also induced reporter activity when present in the c-fos gene fragment 3 kb from the thymidine kinase promoter. Gel-shift experiments demonstrated that synthetic oligonucleotides containing either the consensus ERE or the c-fos element bind human estrogen receptor obtained from a yeast expression system. However, the mobility of the shifted band is faster for the fos-ERE-complex than the consensus ERE complex suggesting that the three-dimensional structure of the protein-DNA complexes is different or that other factors are differentially involved in the two reactions. When the 5′-GGTCA sequence present in the c-fos ERE is mutated to 5′-TTTCA, transcriptional activation and receptor binding activities are both lost. Mutation of the CAGCC-3′ element corresponding to the second half-site of the c-fos sequence also led to the loss of receptor binding activity, suggesting that both half-sites of this element are involved in this function. The estrogen induction mediated by either the c-fos or the consensus ERE was blunted by the antiestrogen tamoxifen. Based on these studies, we believe the 3′-fos ERE sequence we have identified may be a major cis-acting element involved in the physiological regulation of the gene by estrogens in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18047-18054
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number25
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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