Development of a recombinant human ovarian (BG1) cell line containing estrogen receptor α and β for improved detection of estrogenic/antiestrogenic chemicals

Jennifer C. Brennan, Arzoo Bassal, Guochun He, Michael S. Denison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Estrogenic endocrine-disrupting chemicals are found in environmental and biological samples, commercial and consumer products, food, and numerous other sources. Given their ubiquitous nature and potential for adverse effects, a critical need exists for rapidly detecting these chemicals. The authors developed an estrogen-responsive recombinant human ovarian (BG1Luc4E2) cell line recently accepted by the US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as a bioanalytical method to detect estrogen receptor (ER) agonists/antagonists. Unfortunately, these cells appear to contain only 1 of the 2 known ER isoforms, ERα but not ERβ, and the differential ligand selectivity of these ERs indicates that the currently accepted screening method only detects a subset of total estrogenic chemicals. To improve the estrogen screening bioassay, BG1Luc4E2 cells were stably transfected with an ERβ expression plasmid and positive clones identified using ERβ-selective ligands (genistein and Br-ERβ-041). A highly responsive clone (BG1LucERβc9) was identified that exhibited greater sensitivity and responsiveness to ERβ-selective ligands than BG1Luc4E2 cells, and quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction confirmed the presence of ERβ expression in these cells. Screening of pesticides and industrial chemicals identified chemicals that preferentially stimulated ERβ-dependent reporter gene expression. Together, these results not only demonstrate the utility of this dual-ER recombinant cell line for detecting a broader range of estrogenic chemicals than the current BG1Luc4E2 cell line, but screening with both cell lines allows identification of ERα- and ERβ-selective chemicals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-100
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016



  • BG1Luc ER TA
  • Environmental screening
  • Estrogen receptor bioassay
  • Estrogenic chemicals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this