Modulation of Estrogen Response Element-Driven Gene Expressions and Cellular Proliferation with Polar Directions by Designer Transcription Regulators

Muyan M., Gupur G., Yasar P., Ayaz G., User S. D. , Kazan H. H. , ...More

PLOS ONE, vol.10, 2015 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0136423
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Estrogen receptor a (ER alpha), as a ligand-dependent transcription factor, mediates 17 beta-estradiol (E2) effects. ERa is a modular protein containing a DNA binding domain (DBD) and transcription activation domains (AD) located at the amino-and carboxyl-termini. The interaction of the E2-activated ERa dimer with estrogen response elements (EREs) of genes constitutes the initial step in the ERE-dependent signaling pathway necessary for alterations of cellular features. We previously constructed monomeric transcription activators, or monotransactivators, assembled from an engineered ERE-binding module (EBM) using the ER alpha-DBD and constitutively active ADs from other transcription factors. Monotransactivators modulated cell proliferation by activating and repressing ERE-driven gene expressions that simulate responses observed with E2-ER alpha. We reasoned here that integration of potent heterologous repression domains (RDs) into EBM could generate monotransrepressors that alter ERE-bearing gene expressions and cellular proliferation in directions opposite to those observed with E2-ER alpha or monotransactivators. Consistent with this, monotransrepressors suppressed reporter gene expressions that emulate the ERE-dependent signaling pathway. Moreover, a model monotransrepressor regulated DNA synthesis, cell cycle progression and proliferation of recombinant adenovirus infected ER-negative cells through decreasing as well as increasing gene expressions with polar directions compared with E2-ER alpha or monotransactivator. Our results indicate that an 'activator' or a 'repressor' possesses both transcription activating/enhancing and repressing/decreasing abilities within a chromatin context. Offering a protein engineering platform to alter signal pathway-specific gene expressions and cell growth, our approach could also be used for the development of tools for epigenetic modifications and for clinical interventions wherein multigenic de-regulations are an issue.