Estrogen receptor beta (ER-β) mRNA is found in abundance in rat brain. The distribution of ER-β mRNA in brain differs from that of ER-α suggesting they subserve different functions. ER-β mRNA has been reported to be variably spliced, in contrast to ER-α, resulting in numerous isoforms that possess different functional properties. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the isoforms of ER-β mRNA are differentially distributed in different brain regions. In order to assess the range of transcript forms expressed in various brain regions in the same assay, a micropunch dissection technique was combined with semiquantitative RT-PCR. The relative abundance of each ER-β isoform (β1 > β2 > β1δ3 > β2δ3) was similar in all ER-β positive brain regions with the exception of the hippocampus, which contained low levels of most isoforms and a fifth ER-β isoform, which we are calling ER-β1δ4. Based on its sequence, ER-β1δ4 encodes an ER-β that is missing exon 4. Initial characterization studies of this showed that it did not bind estrogen, and that, unlike ER-β1, it localized to the cytoplasm when expressed in cultured cells. The distribution of ER-β1δ4 was different from that of the other isoforms in that it was expressed at high levels in the hippocampus, where the other isoforms were low, and that it was nearly undetectable in the brain regions that expressed the highest levels of the other ER-β splice variants. These data suggest that a highly complex pattern of estrogen signaling can occur in a region specific manner in the rat brain. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.
- Estrogen receptor beta
- Splice variant
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience