Structural basis for an unexpected mode of SERM-Mediated ER antagonism

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Tamoxifen is effective for the prevention and treatment of estrogen-dependent breast cancers, but is associated with an increased incidence of endometrial tumors. We report the crystal structure of the estrogen receptor α (ERα) ligand binding domain (LBD) bound to the structurally similar compound GW5638, which has therapeutic potential and does not stimulate the uterus. Like tamoxifen, GW5638 relocates the carboxy-terminal helix (H12) to the known coactivator-docking site in the ERα LBD. However, GW5638 repositions residues in H12 through specific contacts with the N terminus of this helix. In contrast to tamoxifen, the resulting increase in exposed hydrophobic surface of ERα LBD correlates with a significant destabilization of ERα in MCF-7 cells. Thus, the GW5638-ERα LBD structure reveals an unexpected mode of SERM-mediated ER antagonism, in which the stability of ERα is decreased through an altered position of H12. This dual mechanism of antagonism may explain why GW5638 can inhibit tamoxifen-resistant breast tumors. Copyright ©2005 by Elsevier Inc.




Wu, Y. L., Yang, X., Ren, Z., McDonnell, D. P., Norris, J. D., Willson, T. M., & Greene, G. L. (2005). Structural basis for an unexpected mode of SERM-Mediated ER antagonism. Molecular Cell, 18(4), 413–424.

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