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BACKGROUND: Estrogen acutely activates endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). However, the identity of the receptors involved in this rapid response remains unclear. METHODS AND RESULTS: We detected an estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) transcript in human endothelial cells that encodes a truncated 46-kDa ERalpha (Delta1a-hERalpha-46). A corresponding 46-kDa ERalpha protein was identified in endothelial cell lysates. Transfection of cDNAs encoding the full-length ERalpha (ERalpha-66) and Delta1a-hERalpha-46 resulted in appropriately sized recombinant proteins identified by anti-ERalpha antibodies. Confocal microscopy revealed that a proportion of both ERalpha-66 and hERalpha-46 was localized outside the nucleus and mediated specific cell-surface binding of estrogen as assessed by FITC-conjugated, BSA-estrogen binding studies. Both ERalpha isoforms colocalized with eNOS and mediated acute activation of eNOS in response to estrogen stimulation. However, estrogen-stimulated transcriptional activation mediated by Delta1a-hERalpha-46 was much less than with ERalpha-66. Furthermore, Delta1a-hERalpha-46 inhibited classical hERalpha-66-mediated transcriptional activation in a dominant-negative fashion. CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that expression of an alternatively spliced, truncated ERalpha isoform in human endothelial cells confers a unique ability to mediate acute but not transcriptional responses to estrogen.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





120 - 126


Alternative Splicing, Animals, Cell Line, Cell Membrane, Cells, Cultured, Endothelium, Vascular, Enzyme Activation, Estrogen Receptor alpha, Estrogens, Humans, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Nitric Oxide Synthase, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III, Protein Isoforms, RNA, Messenger, Receptors, Estrogen, Recombinant Fusion Proteins, Transcriptional Activation