Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.)

Androgen receptor repression of GnRH gene transcription.

PMID 22074952


Alterations in androgen levels lead to reproductive defects in both males and females, including hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, anovulation, and infertility. Androgens have been shown to down-regulate GnRH mRNA levels through an androgen receptor (AR)-dependent mechanism. Here, we investigate how androgen regulates expression from the GnRH regulatory region in the GT1-7 cell line, a model of GnRH neurons. A synthetic androgen, R1881, repressed transcription from the GnRH promoter (GnRH-P) in an AR-dependent manner, and liganded AR associated with the chromatin at the GnRH-P in live GT1-7 cells. The three known octamer-binding transcription factor-1 (Oct-1) binding sites in GnRH-P were required for AR-mediated repression, although other sequences were also involved. Although a multimer of the consensus Oct-1 binding site was not repressed, a multimer of the cluster of Oct-1, Pre-B cell leukemia transcription factor (Pbx)/Prep, and NK2 homeobox 1 (Nkx2.1) binding sites, found at -106/-91 in GnRH-P, was sufficient for repression. In fact, overexpression of any of these factors disrupted the androgen response, indicating that a balance of factors in this tripartite complex is required for AR repression. AR bound to this region in EMSA, indicating a direct interaction of AR with DNA or with other transcription factors bound to GnRH-P at this sequence. Collectively, our data demonstrate that GnRH transcription is repressed by AR via multiple sequences in GnRH-P, including three Oct-1 binding sites, and that this repression requires the complex interaction of several transcription factors.