Differential expression and comparative subcellular localization of estrogen receptor beta isoforms in virally transformed and normal cultured human lens epithelial cells

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Experimental Eye Research








Estrogen receptor β isoforms; Expression; Human lens epithelial cells; Subcellular distribution


A number of variants of the wild-type (wt) estrogen receptor beta (ERβ-1) coexist in a wide range of tissues. In the human these include, together with others, the expression of several isoforms (ERβ-2-ERβ-5) due to alternative splicing of exons encoding the carboxy terminus. In this study, we determined whether virally transformed cell cultures of human lens epithelial cells (HLE-B3) express both full length (or wt) and variant isoforms of ERβ in comparison to normal secondary cultures of human lens epithelial cells (nHLE) and furthermore, identify the subcellular localization of the wtERβ-1 and ERβ isoform variants in HLE-B3 and nHLE cells, as well as from human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7) which provided a positive control. ERβ isoform mRNA expression was evaluated by coupled RT-PCR. Subcellular localization of ERβ isoforms was determined on formaldehyde-fixed, Saponin-permeabilized cells using conventional immunofluorescence techniques and affinity purified polyclonal antibodies specific for ERβ-1 as well as to two of the truncated carboxy terminus isoforms (β-2 and β-5). Total RNA was extracted from HLE-B3 and nHLE cells and lens tissue, as well as from human breast adenocarcinoma cells (MCF-7) and subjected to RT-PCR using specific estrogen receptor primers intended to distinguish ERβ-1-ERβ-5 mRNA. The PCR products corresponded to wtERβ-1 as well as to the isoform variants β-2 and β-5. The proportional distribution of wtERβ-1, β-2 and β-5 PCR products differed between the normal lens epithelial cells and the SV-40 transformed lens epithelial cell line; the nHLE being similar to lens tissue with respect to relative expression of ERβ isoform cDNAs. Confocal microscopy and immunofluorescence revealed ERβ-2 was distributed throughout the cytosol and was associated with the nucleus of all cells examined, although sporadic immunostaining was observed with the nuclei of MCF-7. Prominent immunostaining of ERβ-1 appeared in the mitochondria (along with weaker staining in the nucleus) of all cell types as authenticated by co-localization with Mitotrack-633. ERβ-5 immunostaining was diffuse in the cytosol and also associated with the nuclei of all cell types. The differential subcellular partitioning of ERβ-1 to the mitochondria and ERβ-2 to the nucleus suggests a new aspect of regulation and function of the estrogen signalling system. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This document is currently not available here.