Homology modeling of the estrogen receptor subtype β (ER-β) and calculation of ligand binding affinities

Robert K. DeLisle, Seong Jae Yu, Anil C. Nair, William J. Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Estrogen is a steroid hormone playing critical roles in physiological processes such as sexual differentiation and development, female and male reproductive processes, and bone health. Numerous natural and synthetic environmental compounds have been shown capable of estrogenic effects. This area has been the focus of significant fundamental and applied research due both to the potential detrimental effects of these compounds upon normal physiological processes and to the potential beneficial effects of tissue-selective estrogen agonists/antagonists for the prevention and treatment of numerous diseases. Genomic effects of the active form of estrogen, 17β-estradiol, are mediated through at least two members of the steroid hormone receptor superfamily, estrogen receptor subtype α (ER-α) and estrogen receptor subtype β (ER-β). At the time of this work, the X-ray crystal structure of the ER-α had been elucidated, however, coordinates of the ER-β were not publicly available. Based upon the significant structural conservation across members of the steroid hormone receptor family, and the high sequence homology between ER-α and ER-β (>60%), we have developed a homology model of the ER-β structure. Using the crystal structure of ER-α and the homology model of ER-β, we demonstrate a strong correlation between computed values of the binding-energy and published values of the observed relative binding affinity (RBA) for a variety of compounds for both receptors, as well as the ability to identify receptor subtype selective compounds. Furthermore, using the recently available crystal structure of ER-β for comparison purposes, we show that not only is the predicted homology model structurally accurate, but that it can be used to assess ligand binding affinities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-167
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Graphics and Modelling
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Spectroscopy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Materials Chemistry


  • Estrogen
  • Genomic effects
  • Relative binding affinity

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