Molecular and cellular biology

Endogenous retinoid X receptors can function as hormone receptors in pituitary cells.

PMID 7935425


Retinoids regulate gene transcription by interacting with both retinoic acid (RA) receptors (RARs) and retinoid X receptors (RXRs). Since unliganded RXRs can act as heterodimerization partners for RARs and other nuclear hormone receptors, it is unclear whether ligand binding by RXRs actually regulates the expression of naturally occurring genes. To address this issue, we synthesized the RXR-selective retinoid SR11237 and confirmed its specificity in transient transfection and proteolytic susceptibility assays before using it to assess the contribution of ligand-activated RXRs to retinoid action. Unlike RAR ligands, SR11237 did not increase endogenous RAR beta mRNA levels in F9 embryonal carcinoma cells, even though it activated transcription of an RXR-responsive reporter gene in these cells. Thus, it is likely that RARs mediate the induction of RAR beta gene expression by RA. In contrast, the RXR-specific ligand induced rat growth hormone mRNA in GH3 pituitary cells, indicating that the effects of RA on growth hormone gene expression at least in part involve ligand binding to endogenous RXRs in vivo. Our results indicate that in addition to serving as cofactors for other nuclear hormone receptors, endogenous RXRs can function as ligand-dependent regulators of gene expression, i.e., classical nuclear hormone receptors.

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SR11237, ≥98% (HPLC)