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Mol Endocrinol January 1, 1995; 9 (1): 96-107.

Analysis of structure and expression of the Xenopus thyroid hormone receptor-beta gene to explain its autoinduction.

Machuca I , Esslemont G , Fairclough L , Tata JR .

Transcription of both Xenopus thyroid hormone receptor (TR) genes, xTR alpha and -beta, is strongly up-regulated by their own ligand T3 during natural or T3-induced metamorphosis of tadpoles and in some Xenopus cell lines. To explain this autoinduction, we analyzed the sequence of 1.6 kilobases of xTR beta promoter for putative T3-responsive elements. Two direct repeat +4 AGGTCA hexamer motifs (DR+4), an imperfect distal (-793/-778) and a perfect proximal (-5/11) site, a DR+1 site, and some possible half-sites were located in the 1.6-kilobase promoter. Transfection of Xenopus XTC-2 cells (which express xTR alpha and -beta) and XL-2 cells (which predominantly express TR alpha) with chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter constructs of deletion mutants and promoter fragments showed that the distal and proximal DR+4 sites responded to T3, although other flanking sequences may also play a role. The thyroid hormone-responsive element half-site present as DR+1 in the up-stream sequence at -1260/-950, when cloned in front of a heterologous promoter, functions independently. T3 enhanced transcription from the two DR+4-containing fragments when present together by only 2- to 3-fold due to a high basal activity. Overexpression of unliganded xTR alpha and xTR beta in XTC-2 cells repressed basal activity, which was then enhanced 7- to 4-fold by T3, respectively; with XL-2 cells cotransfected with xTR beta, T3 inducibility increased to 16-fold. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays with recombinant Xenopus TR alpha, TR beta, retinoid-X receptor-alpha (RXR alpha) and RXR gamma proteins showed that TR-RXR heterodimers, but not TR or RXR monomers or homodimers, strongly bound the natural and synthetic distal and proximal DR+4 elements in a ligand-independent manner. TR/RXR heterodimers exhibited the highest binding affinity for a 28-mer oligonucleotide probe for the -5/11 proximal DR+4 site, with only slight binding to DR+1 (retinoid-X-responsive element-like) site. The xTR beta promoter binding to XTC-2 cell nuclear extract suggested the in vivo relevance of the findings with recombinant TR/RXR heterodimers. It is concluded that xTR alpha and -beta proteins are capable of regulating the expression of xTR beta gene, which can explain its autoinduction seen during T3-induced metamorphosis.

PubMed ID: 7760854
Article link: Mol Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus
Genes referenced: tdrd6