Ligand-induced large-scale chromatin dynamics as a biosensor for the detection of estrogen receptor subtype selective ligands

Rocio García-Becerra, Valeria Berno, David Ordaz-Rosado, Zelton D. Sharp, Austin J. Cooney, Michael A. Mancini, Fernando Larrea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Estrogen receptors (ER), members of the nuclear steroid receptor superfamily, act to activate transcription through ligand-dependent recruitment of coregulators and chromatin modifications. A series of synthetic A-ring reduced 19-nortestosterone-derived progestins has the capacity to selectively bind ERΑ for activated transcription, and to recruit coregulatory factors. In this study, we have analyzed the ability of synthetic 19-nortestosterone derivatives to visibly alter the configuration of ER-target gene chromatin using a novel mammalian promoter transcriptional biosensor (PRL-array) stably transfected into the genome of HeLa cells (PRL-HeLa cells). Results from synthetic steroid-treated cells expressing functional GFP-ERΑ or YFP-ERΒ chimeras were compared to those obtained with estradiol (E2) and the antiestrogen tamoxifen. In the presence of synthetic ligands or E2 a concentration-dependent increase in area of the biosensor array was observed in GFP-ERΑ-expressing PRL-HeLa cells. No significant differences were found between the effects obtained with natural and synthetic steroids. Similarly, E2 or synthetic steroids-treated PRL-HeLa cells also resulted in similar colocalization of SRC-1- and RNAPII-immunofluorescence at the array. YFP-ERΒ-expressing PRL-HeLa cells treated with E2 showed increases in array area that were similar to ERΑ however, treatment of YFP-ERΒ-expressing cells with synthetic ligands was indistinguishable from vehicle controls. These data indicate that A-ring reduced 19-nortestosterone derivatives have an estrogen-like effect on chromatin, including recruitment of transcription factors through selective interactions with ERΑ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2010


  • Chromatin
  • Estrogen receptor subtypes
  • Ligand selectivity
  • Synthetic progestins
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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