Xenoestrogen-induced regulation of EZH2 and histone methylation via estrogen receptor signaling to PI3K/AKT

Mol Endocrinol. 2010 May;24(5):993-1006. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0438. Epub 2010 Mar 29.


Although rapid, membrane-activated estrogen receptor (ER) signaling is no longer controversial, the biological function of this nongenomic signaling is not fully characterized. We found that rapid signaling from membrane-associated ER regulates the histone methyltransferase enhancer of Zeste homolog 2 (EZH2). In response to both 17beta-estradiol (E2) and the xenoestrogen diethylstilbestrol, ER signaling via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/protein kinase B phosphorylates EZH2 at S21, reducing levels of trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 in hormone-responsive cells. During windows of uterine development that are susceptible to developmental reprogramming, activation of this ER signaling pathway by diethylstilbestrol resulted in phosphorylation of EZH2 and reduced levels of trimethylation of lysine 27 on histone H3 in chromatin of the developing uterus. Furthermore, activation of nongenomic signaling reprogrammed the expression profile of estrogen-responsive genes in uterine myometrial cells, suggesting this as a potential mechanism for developmental reprogramming caused by early-life exposure to xenoestrogens. These data demonstrate that rapid ER signaling provides a direct linkage between xenoestrogen-induced nuclear hormone receptor signaling and modulation of the epigenetic machinery during tissue development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Diethylstilbestrol / pharmacology*
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunoprecipitation
  • Methylation / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Estrogen / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Uterus / metabolism


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • Receptors, Estrogen
  • Transcription Factors
  • Estradiol
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • EZH2 protein, human
  • Enhancer of Zeste Homolog 2 Protein
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases