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Mol Cell Biol. 1995 Nov; 15(11): 5858–5867.
PMCID: PMC230837

Widely spaced, directly repeated PuGGTCA elements act as promiscuous enhancers for different classes of nuclear receptors.


We describe here a novel class of cis-acting response elements for retinoid, vitamin D, and estrogen receptors which are widely spaced (10 to 200 bp) direct repeats (DRs) of the canonical 5'-AGGTCA half-site recognition motif (DR10 to DR200). In contrast to the specificity previously observed with shortly spaced DRs (DR1 to DR5), the different receptors bind promiscuously to these novel elements to activate transcription in the presence of retinoic acid (RA), vitamin D, or estrogen. The greatest RA-dependent transactivation, seen with DR15, was similar to that observed with the canonical DR5. Both RA receptors and retinoid X receptors contribute to transactivation through widely spaced DR elements. With the estrogen receptor, DR15 was one-third as efficient as the classical palindromic response element. A further increase of spacer lengths progressively decreased the efficiency of transactivation. No transactivation was seen with widely spaced DRs when the thyroid and retinoid X receptors were coexpressed in the presence of their ligands. The progesterone receptor was also unable to transactivate through a DR10 element composed of its cognate binding motifs. These results considerably extend the response element repertoire of nuclear receptors and suggest the existence of promiscuous transcriptional regulation through common response elements, as well as the possibility of receptor "cross-talk."

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