Induction of osteoblast differentiation by selective activation of kinase-mediated actions of the estrogen receptor

Stavroula Kousteni, Maria Almeida, Li Han, Teresita Bellido, Robert L. Jilka, Stavros C. Manolagas

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65 Scopus citations


Estrogens control gene transcription by cis or trans interactions of the estrogen receptor (ER) with target DNA or via the activation of cytoplasmic kinases. We report that selective activation of kinase-mediated actions of the ER with 4-estren-3α,17β-diol (estren) or an estradiol-dendrimer conjugate, each a synthetic compound that stimulates kinase-mediated ER actions 1,000 to 10,000 times more potently than direct DNA interactions, induced osteoblastic differentiation in established cell lines of uncommitted osteoblast precursors and primary cultures of osteoblast progenitors by stimulating Wnt and BMP-2 signaling in a kinase-dependent manner. In sharp contrast, 17β-estradiol (E2) suppressed BMP-2-induced osteoblast progenitor commitment and differentiation. Consistent with the in vitro findings, estren, but not E2, stimulated Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcription in T-cell factor-lacZ transgenic mice. Moreover, E2 stimulated BMP signaling in mice in which ERα lacks DNA binding activity and classical estrogen response element-mediated transcription (ERαNERKI/-) but not in wild-type controls. This evidence reveals for the first time the existence of a large signalosome in which inputs from the ER, kinases, bone morphogenetic proteins, and Wnt signaling converge to induce differentiation of osteoblast precursors. ER can either induce it or repress it, depending on whether the activating ligand (and presumably the resulting conformation of the receptor protein) precludes or accommodates ERE-mediated transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1530
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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