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Molecular and cellular biology

The xenobiotic compound 1,4-bis[2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy)]benzene is an agonist ligand for the nuclear receptor CAR.


PMID 10757780

Abstract

A wide range of xenobiotic compounds are metabolized by cytochrome P450 (CYP) enzymes, and the genes that encode these enzymes are often induced in the presence of such compounds. Here, we show that the nuclear receptor CAR can recognize response elements present in the promoters of xenobiotic-responsive CYP genes, as well as other novel sites. CAR has previously been shown to be an apparently constitutive transactivator, and this constitutive activity is inhibited by androstanes acting as inverse agonists. As expected, the ability of CAR to transactivate the CYP promoter elements is blocked by the inhibitory inverse agonists. However, CAR transactivation is increased in the presence of 1,4-bis[2-(3, 5-dichloropyridyloxy)]benzene (TCPOBOP), the most potent known member of the phenobarbital-like class of CYP-inducing agents. Three independent lines of evidence demonstrate that TCPOBOP is an agonist ligand for CAR. The first is that TCPOBOP acts in a dose-dependent manner as a direct agonist to compete with the inhibitory effect of the inverse agonists. The second is that TCPOBOP acts directly to stimulate coactivator interaction with the CAR ligand binding domain, both in vitro and in vivo. The third is that mutations designed to block ligand binding block not only the inhibitory effect of the androstanes but also the stimulatory effect of TCPOBOP. Importantly, these mutations do not block the apparently constitutive transactivation by CAR, suggesting that this activity is truly ligand independent. Both its ability to target CYP genes and its activation by TCPOBOP demonstrate that CAR is a novel xenobiotic receptor that may contribute to the metabolic response to such compounds.

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