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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Oct;23(19):6958-72.

Repression of the luteinizing hormone receptor gene promoter by cross talk among EAR3/COUP-TFI, Sp1/Sp3, and TFIIB.

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  • 1Section on Molecular Endocrinology, Endocrinology, and Reproduction Research Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Transcription of luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) gene is activated by Sp1/Sp3 at two Sp1 sites and is repressed by nuclear orphan receptors EAR2 and EAR3 through a direct-repeat (DR) motif. To elucidate the mechanism of the orphan receptor-mediated gene repression, we explored the functional connection between the orphan receptors and Sp1/Sp3 complex, and its impact on the basal transcription machinery. The Sp1(I) site was identified as critical for the repression since its mutation reduced the inhibition by EAR2 and abolished the inhibition by EAR3. Cotransfection analyses in SL2 cells showed that both Sp1 and Sp3 were required for this process since EAR3 displayed a complete Sp1/Sp3-dependent inhibitory effect. Functional cooperation between Sp1 and DR domains was further supported by mutual recruitment of EAR3 and Sp1/Sp3 bound to their cognate sites. Deletion of EAR3 N-terminal and DNA-binding domains that reduced its interaction with Sp1 impaired its inhibitory effect on human LHR (hLHR) gene transcription. Furthermore, we demonstrate interaction of TFIIB with Sp1/Sp3 at the Sp1(I) site besides its association with EAR3 and the TATA-less core promoter region. Such interaction relied on Sp1 site-bound Sp1/Sp3 complex and adaptor protein(s) present in the JAR nuclear extracts. We further demonstrated that EAR3 specifically decreased association of TFIIB to the Sp1(I) site without interfering on its interaction with the hLHR core promoter. The C-terminal region of EAR3, which did not participate in its interaction with Sp1, was required for its inhibitory function and may affect the association of TFIIB with Sp1. Moreover, perturbation of the association of TFIIB with Sp1 by EAR3 was reflected in the reduced recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the promoter. Overexpression of TFIIB counteracted the inhibitory effect of EAR3 and activated hLHR gene transcription in an Sp1 site-dependent manner. These findings therefore indicate that TFIIB is a key component in the regulatory control of EAR3 and Sp1/Sp3 on the initiation complex. Such cross talk among EAR3, TFIIB, and Sp1/Sp3 reveals repression of hLHR gene transcription by nuclear orphan receptors is achieved via perturbation of communication between Sp1/Sp3 at the Sp1-1 site and the basal transcription initiator complex.

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