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Gen Comp Endocrinol January 1, 2020; 291 113419.

Glucocorticoid receptor is required for survival through metamorphosis in the frog Xenopus tropicalis.

Sterner ZR , Shewade LH , Mertz KM , Sturgeon SM , Buchholz DR .

Stress hormones, also known as glucocorticoids, are critical for survival at birth in mammals due at least in part to their importance in lung maturation. However, because air breathing is not always required for amphibian survival and because stress hormones have no known developmental impact except to modulate the developmental actions of thyroid hormone (TH), the requirement for stress hormone signaling during metamorphosis is not well understoodi. Here, we produced a glucocorticoid receptor knockout (GRKO) Xenopus line with a frameshift mutation in the first exon of the glucocorticoid receptor. Induction by exogenous corticosterone (CORT, the frog stress hormone) of the CORT response genes, klf9 (Krüppel-like factor 9, also regulated by TH) and ush1g (Usher''s syndrome 1G), was completely abrogated in GRKO tadpoles. Surprisingly, GRKO tadpoles developed faster than wild-type tadpoles until forelimb emergence and then developed more slowly until their death at the climax of metamorphosis. Growth rate was not affected in GRKO tadpoles, but they achieved a smaller maximum size. Gene expression analysis of the TH response genes, thrb (TH receptor beta) and klf9 showed reduced expression in the tail at metamorphic climax consistent with the reduced development rate. These results indicate that glucocorticoid receptor is required for survival through metamorphosis and support dual roles for GR signaling in control of developmental rate.

PubMed ID: 32032606
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: klf9 thrb ush1g
GO keywords: glucocorticoid receptor activity [+]

Disease Ontology terms: heart disease [+]