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J Biol Chem. 1991 Apr 25;266(12):7588-95.

Vitamin D receptor expression in human lymphocytes. Signal requirements and characterization by western blots and DNA sequencing.

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  • 1Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Indianapolis, Indiana 46202.


The signals controlling the expression of the receptor protein for 1 alpha,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 in normal human lymphocytes and the relationship of this protein to the classical vitamin D receptor were examined. Lymphocytes activated with the OKT3 antibody to the T-cell antigen receptor expressed fewer binding sites as compared to lymphocytes that were activated by the polyclonal activator phytohemagglutinin (PHA). However, combination of OKT3 and phorbol myristate acetate produced a concentration of binding sites similar to the PHA-activated cells. The receptor from OKT3 and OKT3 + phorbol myristate acetate-activated lymphocytes exhibited decreased binding to DNA-cellulose compared to PHA-activated lymphocytes. In lymphocytes activated either by PHA or OKT3 (but not in resting cells), a 50-kDa species cross-reacting with a monoclonal antibody against the intestinal vitamin D receptor was detected. Finally, RNA from activated lymphocytes was amplified by polymerase chain reaction using oligonucleotide primers flanking the 196 base pair long region encoding the DNA-binding domain of the human intestinal receptor. The amplified product showed an identical nucleotide sequence to the DNA-binding domain of the human intestinal receptor. These findings suggest that expression of the 1,25-(OH)2D3 receptor in lymphocytes is triggered by distinct and contingent signals, and that the protein and the mRNA encoding it are identical to the classical vitamin D receptor.

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