The binding site for Xenopus glucocorticoid receptor accessory factor and a single adjacent half-GRE form an independent glucocorticoid response unit.
In Xenopus laevis, transcription of the gamma-fibrinogen subunit gene is activated by glucocorticoids. Hormone induction is regulated by three glucocorticoid response element (GRE) half-sites and an additional DNA sequence which binds a novel hepatocyte nuclear protein, Xenopus glucocorticoid receptor accessory factor (XGRAF). The XGRAF binding site (GAGTTAA) is located directly upstream of the most distal half-GRE. The proximity of the binding sites for XGRAF and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) led to the hypothesis that these two sites form a glucocorticoid response unit (GRU). By transfecting DNA into primary hepatocytes, we showed that this GRU confers hormone responsiveness in the absence of other half-GREs. The XGRAF binding site enhances function of the half-GRE without itself responding to glucocorticoids. The GRU retains efficacy in other locations relative to the gamma-fibrinogen gene promoter, further increases transcription when present in multiple copies, and activates a heterologous promoter. Despite the contiguity of the XGRAF binding site and half-GRE, the two sites can be occupied simultaneously in vitro. The binding characteristics correlate with function since mutations that disrupt concurrent XGRAF and GR binding also impair transcription. This novel GRU represents a new regulatory mechanism that may be applicable to other glucocorticoid responsive genes that lack a full GRE.
PubMed ID: 11015202
Article link: Biochemistry.
Grant support: HL-02934 NHLBI NIH HHS , HL-07094 NHLBI NIH HHS , R01-HL-39095 NHLBI NIH HHS
Genes referenced: fga fgg nr3c1