The indirect recruitment (tethering) of estrogen receptors (ERs) to DNA through other DNA-bound transcription factors (e.g. activator protein 1) is an important component of estrogen-signaling pathways, but our understanding of the mechanisms of ligand-dependent activation in this pathway is limited. Using proteomic, genomic, and gene-specific analyses, we demonstrate that a large repertoire of DNA-binding transcription factors contribute to estrogen signaling through the tethering pathway. In addition, we define a set of endogenous genes for which ERα tethering through activator protein 1 (e.g. c-Fos) and cAMP response element-binding protein family members mediates estrogen responsiveness. Finally, we show that functional interplay between c-Fos and cAMP response element-binding protein 1 contributes to estrogen-dependent regulation through the tethering pathway. Based on our results, we conclude that ERα recruitment in the tethering pathway is dependent on the ligand-induced formation of transcription factor complexes that involves interplay between the transcription factors from different protein families.