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Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Jan;20(1):147-66. Epub 2005 Aug 18.

Adrenocorticotropic hormone-mediated signaling cascades coordinate a cyclic pattern of steroidogenic factor 1-dependent transcriptional activation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Integrative Pysiology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0678, USA.


Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is an orphan nuclear receptor that has emerged as a critical mediator of endocrine function at multiple levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-steroidogenic axis. Within the adrenal cortex, ACTH-dependent transcriptional responses, including transcriptional activation of several key steroidogenic enzymes within the steroid biosynthetic pathway, are largely dependent upon SF-1 action. The absence of a bona fide endogenous eukaryotic ligand for SF-1 suggests that signaling pathway activation downstream of the melanocortin 2 receptor (Mc2r) modulates this transcriptional response. We have used the chromatin immunoprecipitation assay to examine the temporal formation of ACTH-dependent transcription complexes on the Mc2r gene promoter. In parallel, ACTH-dependent signaling events were examined in an attempt to correlate transcriptional events with the upstream activation of signaling pathways. Our results demonstrate that ACTH-dependent signaling cascades modulate the temporal dynamics of SF-1-dependent complex assembly on the Mc2r promoter. Strikingly, the pattern of SF-1 recruitment and the subsequent attainment of active rounds of transcription support a kinetic model of SF-1 transcriptional activation, a model originally established in the context of ligand-dependent transcription by several classical nuclear hormone receptors. An assessment of the major ACTH-dependent signaling pathways highlights pivotal roles for the MAPK as well as the cAMP-dependent protein kinase A pathway in the entrainment of SF-1-mediated transcriptional events. In addition, the current study demonstrates that specific enzymatic activities are capable of regulating distinct facets of a highly ordered transcriptional response.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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