Transcriptional activation of c-fos protooncogene by 17β-Estradiol: Mechanism of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated inhibition

Renqin Duan, Weston Porter, Ismael Samudio, Carrie Vyhlidal, Michael Kladde, Stephen Safe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


17β-Estradiol (E2) induced c-fos protooncogene mRNA levels in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, and maximal induction was observed within 1 h after treatment. 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) inhibited the E2-induced response within 2 h. The molecular mechanism of this response was further investigated using pFC2-CAT, a construct containing a -1400 to +41 sequence from the human c-fos protooncogene linked to a bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene. In MCF-7 cells transiently transfected with pFC2-CAT, 10 nM E2 induced an 8.5-fold increase of CAT activity, and cotreatment with 10 nM TCDD decreased this response by more than 45%. α-Naphthoflavone, an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) antagonist, blocked the inhibitory effects of TCDD; moreover, the inhibitory response was not observed in variant Ah-nonresponsive MCF-7 cells, suggesting that the AhR complex was required for estrogen receptor cross-talk. The E2-responsive sequence (-1220 to -1155) in the c-fos gene promoter contains two putative core pentanucleotide dioxin-responsive elements (DREs) at -1206 to -1202 and -1163 to -1159. In transient transfection assays using wild-type and core DRE mutant constructs, the downstream core DRE (at -1163 to -1159) was identified as a functional inhibitory DRE. The results of photo-induced cross-linking, gel mobility shift, and in vitro DNA footprinting assays showed that the AhR complex interacted with the core DRE that also overlapped the E2-responsive GC-rich site (-1168 to -1161), suggesting that the mechanism for AhR-mediated inhibitory effects may be due to quenching or masking at the Sp1-binding site.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1511-1521
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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