Long-range activation of GREB1 by estrogen receptor via three distal consensus estrogen-responsive elements in breast cancer cells

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The estrogen receptor (ER) binds to estrogen-responsive elements (EREs) to activate gene transcription. The best characterized EREs are located in proximal gene promoters, but recent data indicate that only a minority of ER binding sites lie within proximal promoter regions. GREB1 (gene regulated by estrogen in breast cancer 1) is an ER target gene that regulates estrogen-induced proliferation in breast cancer cells. We identified three consensus EREs, located at -21.2, -9.5, and -1.6 kb upstream of the closest GREB1a transcription start site that appear to mediate long-range GREB1 gene activation by ER. All three ERE sites nucleate ER, steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3), and RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and undergo histone acetylation in response to estradiol. Estrogen-stimulated ER binding at all three EREs was cyclic and synchronous. SRC-3 and Pol II recruitment to all three EREs was activated by estrogen but not tamoxifen. In contrast, estrogen stimulated only Pol II and not ER or SRC-3 recruitment to the GREB1 core promoter regions. Long-range histone acetylation, centered on the three ERE motifs and the GREB1 core promoters, was observed in response to estrogen but not to tamoxifen. These data suggest that estrogen-stimulated GREB1 transcription may involve coordinated ER binding to all three distal consensus ERE motifs. Long-range activation by ER acting at multiple EREs may be more common than previously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2651-2662
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology

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