Estrogen induced desensitization of c-fos messenger RNA expression in vivo

Claudia Antonia Orengo, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


In this thesis, we investigated the regulation of the nuclear proto-oncogene, c-fos by estrogen in vivo. In the uterus, estrogen causes a rapid, dramatic and transient induction of c-fos mRNA and this occurs by transcriptional activation. We have discovered a previously unrecognized regulatory mechanism by which fos becomes desensitized to estrogen following the transient induction. We investigated three aspects of this desensitization: (1) the kinetics and general characteristics of the phenomenon; (2) the molecular mechanism of the desensitization; and (3) the relationship of desensitization to estrogen stimulated DNA synthesis. The desensitization occurs between 3-24 hours after initial hormonal stimulation and is reversible within 72 hours. The desensitization is not species specific, in that it occurs in both the rat and mouse. The desensitization also occurs in at least two estrogen responsive tissues, the uterus and vagina. The desensitization is not unique to c-fos, since both c-myc and c-jun show similar patterns of desensitization. However, the desensitization is not observed with creatine kinase B (CKB), indicating that not all estrogen inducible genes become desensitized. In the second general area, we determined the desensitization is at the transcriptional level. The desensitization is homologous, but not heterologous, since estrogen induction does not desensitize c-fos to other agents. Other studies show that the desensitization is not due to the lack of functional estrogen receptors. Taken together, these findings suggest that the desensitization occurs at the level of the estrogen responsive element. In the third major area, we demonstrated that the desensitization appears to be related to estrogen induced DNA synthesis. Support for this suggestion comes from the observation that short acting estrogens which induce fos, but not DNA synthesis, do not produce desensitization.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Pharmacology

Recommended Citation

Orengo, Claudia Antonia, "Estrogen induced desensitization of c-fos messenger RNA expression in vivo" (1991). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9228968.