Kruppel-associated box (KRAB) domain-containing proteins consist of potential transcriptional repression modules. Previously, gonadotropin-inducible ovarian transcription factor-1 (GIOT-1) was identified as a novel KRAB-containing zinc finger protein and shown to have transcriptional repression activity. Here, we demonstrate that orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 regulates GIOT-1 gene expression in testicular Leydig cell lines and that GIOT-1 acts as a novel corepressor of the orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1). Mutation analysis of the GIOT-1 promoter and overexpression analysis of dominant-negative Nur77 revealed that luteinizing hormone activates GIOT-1 gene expression through Nur77. Electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that Nur77 directly binds to the GIOT-1 promoter. GIOT-1 represses the SF-1 transactivation, and specific interaction between GIOT-1 and SF-1 was observed. We also demonstrate an interaction between GIOT-1 and histone deacetylase 2 (HDAC2). GIOT-1-mediated transrepression was recovered by down-regulation of HDAC2 expression with small interfering RNA of HDAC2. Knock down of the endogenous GIOT-1 results in significant enhancement of CYP17 expression in Leydig cells. In conclusion, this study of cross-talk between GIOT-1 and orphan nuclear receptors will provide new insights into the role of KRAB-containing zinc finger proteins in nuclear receptor action.
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