ACTH-producing tumors of nonpituitary origin characteristically exhibit insensitivity to the negative feedback effects of glucocorticoids. In the DMS-79 cell line derived from an ACTH-producing small cell lung cancer we have previously identified an aberrantly spliced glucocorticoid receptor (GRΔ) that lacks a ligand-binding domain. We examined the interactions of this truncated form of GR with the proximal human proopiomelanocortin (POMC) promoter. In electrophoretic mobility shift assays GRΔ bound to the negative glucocorticoid response element (nGRE) at position -78 to -50 in the human POMC promoter. Nur77, an orphan nuclear receptor that exerts positive regulatory effects on the POMC gene is also known to bind to this DNA element. The functional properties of GR and GRΔ binding to this DNA element were examined in transient transfection experiments in murine AtT-20 corticotroph tumor cells. Reporter gene expression under the control of proximal POMC promoter elements was stimulated by addition of forskolin to the culture medium or by transfection with expression constructs for human Nak1, the human homologue of Nur77. Treatment of transfected cells with dexamethasone resulted in suppression of forskolin- or Nak1-stimulated POMC-reporter gene expression in the presence of co-transfected GR but not with GRΔ. The experiments indicate that in the human POMC promoter GRΔ is capable of binding to the nGRE but cannot effect trans-repression of POMC-reporter gene expression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology