The mouse estrogen receptor (mER) exhibits ligand stereochemical specificity for indenestrol A (IA), a stilbestrol estrogen. IA has a chiral C3 methyl group, and the mER preferentially binds the S-enantiomer (IA-S), resulting in elevated biological activity when compared with the IA-R enantiomer. To elucidate the mechanisms for this stereochemical recognition, we have constructed a series of mERs with individual amino acid substitutions at Met521, His528, Met532, and Val537. The abilities of yeast-expressed wild-type and mutant mERs to transactivate an estrogenresponsive reporter gene construct were measured in the presence of diethylstilbestrol (DES) and IA enantiomers. The concentration of IA-S required to induce half-maximal transactivation by wild-type mER was 10-fold lower than IA-R, which is attributed to the 15-fold greater binding affinity for IA-S. Wild-type mER displayed similar dose—response curves for IA-R and demethyl IA, which lacks a C3 methyl group, demonstrating that the presence and correct orientation of the C3 methyl group on the IA compound is required for high-affinity ligand binding and transcriptional activity. Each mutant exhibited a reduced preference for IA-S enantiomer with respect to transactivation, suggesting that this region of the mER functions in ligand stereochemical recognition and activation. A mutation at Met532 diminished DES-and IA-S-induced transactivation by 7·5-fold and 40-fold respectively, with minimal change on their binding affinity. These data suggest that Met532 is required for transactivation induced by the potent agonist, IA-S, and the M532G mutation effectively uncouples IA-S ligand binding from transactivation. Use of these stereochemically different ligands in combination with mutagenesis of the mER demonstrates that ligand structure could influence transactivation by specifically altering the conformation of the mER AF-2 region.