Expression levels of estrogen receptor β are modulated by components of the molecular clock

Wen Cai, Juliette Rambaud, Michèle Teboul, Ingrid Masse, Gerard Benoit, Jan Åke Gustafsson, Franck Delaunay, Vincent Laudet, Ingemar Pongratz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Circadian regulation of gene expression plays a major role in health and disease. The precise role of the circadian system remains to be clarified, but it is known that circadian proteins generate physiological rhythms in organisms by regulating clock-controlled target genes. The estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) is, together with ERa, a member of the nuclear receptor superf amily and a key mediator of estrogen action. Interestingly, recent studies show that disturbed circadian rhythmicity in humans can increase the risk of reproductive malfunctions, suggesting a link between the circadian system and ER-mediated transcription pathways. Here, we identify a novel level of regulation of estrogen signaling where ERα, but not ERα, is controlled by circadian clock proteins. We show that ERβ mRNA levels fluctuate in different peripheral tissues following a robust circadian pattern, with a peak at the light-dark transition, which is maintained under free-running conditions. Interestingly, this oscillation is abolished in clock-deficient BMAL1 knockout mice. Circadian control of ERβ expression is exerted through a conserved E-box element in the ERβ promoter region that recruits circadian regulatory factors. Furthermore, using small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown assays, we show that the expression levels of the circadian regulatory factors directly influence estrogen signaling by regulating the intracellular levels of endogenous ERβ.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)784-793
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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