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J Biol Chem. 2006 Mar 24;281(12):7850-5. Epub 2006 Jan 25.

Phosphorylation of the hinge domain of the nuclear hormone receptor LRH-1 stimulates transactivation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA. ylee@bcm.tmc.edu


The nuclear receptor LRH-1 (NR5A2) functions to regulate expression of a number of genes associated with bile acid homeostasis and other liver functions, but mechanisms that modulate its activity remain unclear. We have found that mitogenic stimuli, including treatment with phorbol myristate (PMA), increase LRH-1 transactivation. This response maps to the hinge and ligand binding domains of LRH-1 and is blocked by the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126. LRH-1 is a phosphoprotein and hinge domain serine residues at 238 and 243 are required for effective phosphorylation, both in vitro and in cells. Preventing phosphorylation of these residues by mutating both to alanine decreases PMA-dependent LRH-1 transactivation and mimicking phosphorylation by mutation to positively charged aspartate residues increases basal transactivation. Although serine phosphorylation of the hinge of SF-1 (NR5A1), the closest relative of LRH-1, confers a similar response, the specific targets differ in the two closely related orphan receptors. These results define a novel pathway for the modulation of LRH-1 transactivation and identify specific LRH-1 residues as downstream targets of mitogenic stimuli. This pathway may contribute to recently described proliferative functions of LRH-1.

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