Functional Analysis of the Estrogen and Progesterone Receptors
The molecular basis for the regulation of patterns of gene expression, both during the development of eukaryotic organisms and in terminally differentiated cells, is one of the major subjects of molecular biology. At the level of transcription, this regulation appears to be achieved through positive and negative effects mediated by trans-acting proteins interacting with cis-acting DNA promoter elements. Steroid hormones trigger complex developmental and physiological processes. The structural information provided by a given steroid hormone is converted into a regulatory signal by its interaction with specific receptor proteins. Upon binding of the hormone, the receptor gains the ability to specifically alter gene transcription; a process which appears to result from the binding of the hormone-receptor complex to “enhancer” elements of target gene promoters. Thus, understanding (i) how the receptor protein is able to specifically recognize its cognate hormone; (ii) how this binding results in the interaction of the receptor with target gene promoter elements; (iii) how this interaction leads to initiation of specific gene transcription; and, (iv) what the role of the hormone is in these processes, is essential in order to understand the molecular mechanism of steroid hormone-controlled gene activity. Such an analysis has now become possible following the recent cloning of several members of the steroid/thyroid hormone superfamily of nuclear receptor genes (for reviews and references, see reference 1).
KeywordsEstrogen Receptor Progesterone Receptor Glucocorticoid Receptor Human Estrogen Receptor Estrogen Responsive Element
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