Inhibition of estrogen-responsive gene activation by the retinoid X receptor β: Evidence for multiple inhibitory pathways

J. H. Segars, M. S. Marks, S. Hirschfeld, P. H. Driggers, E. Martinez, J. F. Grippo, W. Wahli, K. Ozato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


The retinoid X receptor β (RXRβ; H-2RIIBP) forms heterodimers with various nuclear hormone receptors and binds multiple hormone response elements, including the estrogen response element (ERE). In this report, we show that endogenous RXRβ contributes to ERE binding activity in nuclear extracts of the human breast cancer cell line MCF-7. To define a possible regulatory role of RXRβ regarding estrogen-responsive transcription in breast cancer cells, RXRβ and a reporter gene driven by the vitellogenin A2 ERE were transfected into estrogen-treated MCF-7 cells. RXRβ inhibited ERE- driven reporter activity in a dose-dependent and element-specific fashion. This inhibition occurred in the absence of the RXR ligand 9-cis retinoic acid. The RXRβ-induced inhibition was specific for estrogen receptor (ER)- mediated ERE activation because inhibition was observed in ER-negative MDA- MB-231 cells only following transfection of the estrogen-activated ER. No inhibition of the basal reporter activity was observed. The inhibition was not caused by simple competition of RXRβ with the ER for ERE binding, since deletion mutants retaining DNA binding activity but lacking the N-terminal or C-terminal domain failed to inhibit reporter activity. In addition, cross- linking studies indicated the presence of an auxiliary nuclear factor present in MCF-7 cells that contributed to RXRβ binding of the ERE. Studies using known heterodimerization partners of RXRβ confirmed that RXRβ/triiodothyronine receptor α heterodimers avidly bind the ERE but revealed the existence of another triiodothyronine-independent pathway of ERE inhibition. These results indicate that estrogen-responsive genes may be negatively regulated by RXRβ through two distinct pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2258-2268
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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