17β-Estradiol (E2) activates the estrogen receptor (ER) through multiple genomic and nongenomic pathways in various tissues/organs. ERα/specificity protein-dependent activation of E2-responsive genes containing GC-rich promoters has been identified in breast and other cancer cell lines, and in this study, we describe transgenic animals overexpressing a transgene containing three tandem GC-rich sites linked to a minimal TATA or thymidine kinase promoter and a luciferase gene. Several mouse lines expressing the transgenes were characterized and, in line 15, E2 induced a 9-fold increase in luciferase activity in the female mouse uterus, and the synthetic estrogens bisphenol A and nonylphenol also induced uterine luciferase activity. The pure antiestrogen ICI 182,780 induced luciferase activity in the mouse uterus, and similar results were observed for ICI 182,780 in breast cancer cells transfected with this construct. Differences in the ER agonist and antagonist activities of E2, nonylphenol, bisphenol A, and ICI 182,780 were investigated in the male testis and penis and the male and female stomach in line 15 transgenic mice. All of these tissues were hormone responsive; however, the patterns of induced or repressed luciferase activity were ligand structure, tissue, and sex dependent. These results demonstrate for the first time hormonal activation or repression of a GC-rich promoterin vivo, and the results suggest that the ERα/specificity protein pathway may contribute to E2-dependent induction and repression of genes.
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