The effects of distamycin on the expression of the estrogen receptor gene were determined in the MCF7 human breast cancer cell line. Estrogen receptor (ER) RNA transcripts were analyzed by Northern blotting and RT-PCR using specific oligonucleotides for the 5' upstream region and for ER cDNA. After ex vivo distamycin treatment of the cells the expression of the canonical ER mRNA isoform of 6.3 kb is strongly inhibited, without appreciable alteration of the accumulation of 5' upstream ER mRNA isoforms. These results suggest that distamycin alters the transcriptional activity of the ER gene causing a change in the ratio between the canonical transcript and other isoforms containing 5' upstream regions.
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