ACTH production by non-pituitary tumors is generally not suppressible by exogenous glucocorticoid administration. We had postulated that defects in the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling system might be responsible for this apparent glucocorticoid resistance and had previously demonstrated that DMS-79 cells, derived from an ectopic ACTH-producing tumor, express an abnormal GR mRNA. In this DMS-79 cell GR the sequence normally derived from exons 8 and 9 is replaced by sequence unmatched in the DNA databases. The protein encoded by this mRNA lacks the steroid-binding domain and does not function as a ligand-activated transcription factor. In the present work, we sought to identify the origin of the novel GR mRNA sequence. Southern blot analysis of DMS-79 genomic DNA showed no major structural alteration of the GR gene. Southern blotting of cosmid clones of the normal GR gene revealed that the novel DMS-79 GR mRNA sequence is derived from intron G, between exons 7 and 8. No splice site mutations were found in PCR-amplified DMS-79 DNA fragments surrounding the downstream splice junctions. Further sequencing indicated that the aberrant GR transcript appears to be generated by use of a consensus cleavage/polyadenylation signal found 3650 base pairs into the normal intron G. We conclude that abnormal GR pre-mRNA processing rather than a GR gene mutation confers glucocorticoid resistance on DMS-79 cells.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology