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J Biol Chem. 2008 Apr 11;283(15):9674-80. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709382200. Epub 2008 Feb 11.

Post-transcriptional regulation of human pregnane X receptor by micro-RNA affects the expression of cytochrome P450 3A4.

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  • 1Drug Metabolism and Toxicology, Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kakuma-machi, Kanazawa 920-1192, Japan.


Pregnane X receptor (PXR) is a major transcription factor regulating the inducible expression of a variety of transporters and drug-metabolizing enzymes, including CYP3A4 (cytochrome P450 3A4). We first found that the PXR mRNA level was not correlated with the PXR protein level in a panel of 25 human livers, indicating the involvement of post-transcriptional regulation. Notably, a potential miR-148a recognition element was identified in the 3'-untranslated region of human PXR mRNA. We investigated whether PXR might be regulated by miR-148a. A reporter assay revealed that miR-148a could recognize the miR-148a recognition element of PXR mRNA. The PXR protein level was decreased by the overexpression of miR-148a, whereas it was increased by inhibition of miR-148a. The miR-148a-dependent decrease of PXR protein attenuated the induction CYP3A4 mRNA. Furthermore, the translational efficiency of PXR (PXR protein/PXR mRNA ratio) was inversely correlated with the expression levels of miR-148a in a panel of 25 human livers, supporting the miR-148a-dependent regulation of PXR in human livers. Eventually, the PXR protein level was significantly correlated with the CYP3A4 mRNA and protein levels. In conclusion, we found that miR-148a post-transcriptionally regulated human PXR, resulting in the modulation of the inducible and/or constitutive levels of CYP3A4 in human liver. This study will provide new insight into the unsolved mechanism of the large interindividual variability of CYP3A4 expression.

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