Human estrogen receptor α gene is a target of Runx2 transcription factor in osteoblasts

Elisabetta Lambertini, Letizia Penolazzi, Elisa Tavanti, Gian Pietro Schincaglia, Margherita Zennaro, Roberto Gambari, Roberta Piva

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Several studies into the mechanisms involved in control of osteoblast-specific gene expression have identified Runx2 and ERα (estrogen receptor alpha) as essential regulators of osteoblast differentiation. Recently, interactions between Runx2 and ERα have been described. Here, we investigate the role of Runx2 on the regulation of ERα expression by determining its interaction with the F promoter, one of the multiple promoters of the human ERα gene and the only one active in bone. We found that, in this promoter, three Runx2-like sites are present. By electrophoretic mobility shift assay in combination with supershift and ChIP experiments, we demonstrated that Runx2 preferentially binds one of the Runx2 motifs of the F promoter. To understand whether or not they are involved in influencing F promoter activity, different promoter-reporter deletion and mutation constructs were transiently transfected into human osteoblastic cells. Comparison of luciferase activities allowed the identification of a prevalent negative role of a sequence context, within the - 117,877/- 117,426 region, which may be under the control of Runx2 (a) site. Finally, silencing and overexpression of endogenous Runx2 provided evidence that Runx2 has a more complex role than initially expected. In fact, Runx2 (a) and Runx2 (b) sites carried out opposite roles which are conditioned by Runx2 levels in bone cells. Therefore, the resulting F promoter activity may be tightly regulated by a dynamic interplay between these two Runx2 sites, with a predominance of negative effect of the Runx2 (a) site.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1548-1560
Number of pages13
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2007


  • Estrogen receptor α
  • Gene expression
  • Osteoblasts
  • Promoter characterization
  • Runx2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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