We reported that bisphenol AF (BPAF) works as an agonist for estrogen receptor (ER) ERα but as an antagonist for ERβ. Similar results were observed for bisphenol E analogs (BPEX) such as BPE-F, BPE-Cl, and BPE-Br, each consisting of a series of a tri-halogenated methyl group CX3 in the central alkyl moiety. It was demonstrated that the electrostatic halogen bond based on the dispersion force of halogen atoms is a major driving force in the activities of bifunctional ERα-agonist and ERβ-antagonist. Since the chlorine atoms present in bisphenol C (BPC) exist in a π-π conjugated system due to the presence of an adjacent C = C double bond, we intended to prove that BPC is also a bifunctional ERα-agonist and ERβ-antagonist exhibiting greatly enhanced agonist/antagonist activities. BPC was evaluated for its ability to activate ERα and ERβ in the luciferase reporter gene assay using HeLa cells. With high receptor-binding ability to both ERs, BPC was found to be fully active for ERα but inactive for ERβ. BPC's definite antagonist activity in ERβ was revealed by its inhibitory activity against 17β-estradiol. Thus, BPC is a bifunctional ERα-agonist and ERβ-antagonist. These agonist/antagonist activities were discovered to be extremely high among series of halogen-containing bisphenol compounds. This comparative structure-activity study revealed that the ascending order of ERα-agonist and ERβ-antagonist activities was BPE-F≤BPE-Cl ≲ BPAF < BPE-Br≤BPC. The highly intensified receptor interaction of BPC is attributable to the presence of an n-π-π-n conjugation system mediated through the >C = CCl2 double bond.
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