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Mol Endocrinol. 2004 May;18(5):1263-76. Epub 2004 Feb 26.

Small nuclear RING finger protein stimulates the rat luteinizing hormone-beta promoter by interacting with Sp1 and steroidogenic factor-1 and protects from androgen suppression.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


GnRH controls expression of the LH subunit genes, alpha and LHbeta, with the LHbeta subunit regulated most dramatically. Two enhancer regions, distal and proximal, on the rat LHbeta gene promoter cooperate for full basal expression and GnRH stimulation. It has been hypothesized that the transcription factors binding to these regions, Sp1, Egr-1, and steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), may interact directly or indirectly via a coactivator. One such coactivator may be small nuclear RING finger protein (SNURF), which is expressed in pituitary tissue and the LbetaT2 gonadotrope cell line. In transfection experiments in LbetaT2 cells, SNURF stimulated basal expression of LHbeta and increased overall GnRH stimulation. SNURF specifically stimulated LHbeta, with no effect on the alpha-subunit promoter. SNURF interacts with Sp1 and SF-1, but not Egr-1, in pull-down experiments. Point mutations or deletions of SNURF functional domains demonstrated that Sp1 and SF-1 interactions with SNURF are required for SNURF stimulatory effects on the LHbeta promoter. Endogenous SNURF is associated with the LHbeta promoter on native chromatin, suggesting that it plays a physiological role in LHbeta gene expression. SNURF also binds the androgen receptor, and SNURF overexpression overcomes androgen suppression of GnRH-stimulated LHbeta but not alphasubunit promoter activity. SNURF mutations that disrupt Sp1 or SF-1 binding eliminate rescue by SNURF. We conclude that SNURF may mediate interactions between the distal and proximal GnRH response regions of the LHbeta promoter to stimulate transcription and can also protect the promoter from androgen suppression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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