A variant of estrogen receptor-α, hER-α36: Transduction of estrogen- and antiestrogen-dependent membrane-initiated mitogenic signaling

ZhaoYi Wang, XinTian Zhang, Peng Shen, Brian W. Loggie, YunChao Chang, Thomas F. Deuel

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The status of the 66-kDa human estrogen receptor-α (hER-α66) is a critical determinant in the assessment of the prognosis and in the design of treatment strategies of human breast cancer. Recently, we cloned the cDNA of an alternatively spliced variant of hER-α66, termed hER-α36; the predicted protein lacks both transcriptional activation domains of hER-α66 but retains its DNA-binding domain, partial dimerization, and ligand-binding domains and three potential myristoylation sites located near the N terminus. These findings thus predict that hER-α36 functions very differently from hER-α66 in response to estrogen signaling. We now demonstrate that hER-α36 inhibits the estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent transactivation activities of hER-α66 and hER-β. We further demonstrate that hER-α36 is predominantly associated with the plasma membrane where it transduces both estrogen- and antiestrogen-dependent activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway and stimulates cell growth. We conclude that hER-α36 is a predominantly membrane-based, unique alternatively spliced variant of hER-α66 that acts as a dominant-negative effector of both estrogen-dependent and estrogen-independent transactivation functions signaled through hER-α66 and ER-β; it also transduces membrane-initiated estrogen-dependent activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase mitogenic signaling pathway. The estrogen and antiestrogen signaling pathways mediated by hER-α36 provide an alternative explanation for why some human breast cancers are resistant to and others are worsened by antiestrogen therapy; the data suggest that hER-α36 also may be an important marker to direct therapy in human breast cancers, and perhaps hER-α36 also may transduce estrogen-dependent signaling in other estrogen target tissues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9063-9068
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Jun 13 2006


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General
  • Genetics

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