Document Type


Publication Date



The estrogen receptor α (ER-α) regulates expression of target genes implicated in development, metabolism, and breast cancer. Calcium-dependent regulation of ER-α is critical for activating gene expression and is controlled by calmodulin (CaM). Here, we present the NMR structures for the two lobes of CaM each bound to a localized region of ER-α (residues 287–305). A model of the complete CaM·ER-α complex was constructed by combining these two structures with additional data. The two lobes of CaM both compete for binding at the same site on ER-α (residues 292, 296, 299, 302, and 303), which explains why full-length CaM binds two molecules of ER-α in a 1:2 complex and stabilizes ER-α dimerization. Exposed glutamate residues in CaM (Glu11, Glu14, Glu84, and Glu87) form salt bridges with key lysine residues in ER-α (Lys299, Lys302, and Lys303), which are likely to prevent ubiquitination at these sites and inhibit degradation of ER-α. Mutants of ER-α at the CaM-binding site (W292A and K299A) weaken binding to CaM, and I298E/K299D disrupts estrogen-induced transcription. CaM facilitates dimerization of ER-α in the absence of estrogen, and stimulation of ER-α by either Ca2+ and/or estrogen may serve to regulate transcription in a combinatorial fashion.


© 2012 American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Inc. Original published version available at

First Page


Last Page


Publication Title

Journal of Biological Chemistry



Included in

Chemistry Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.