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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jan 17;92(2):412-6.

The orphan receptors COUP-TF and HNF-4 serve as accessory factors required for induction of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene transcription by glucocorticoids.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, TN 37232-0615.


Glucocorticoids stimulate hepatic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK; EC gene expression, thereby increasing the rate of gluconeogenesis. The effect of glucocorticoids on PEPCK gene expression is mediated by a set of promoter elements collectively referred to as the glucocorticoid response unit. The response unit spans a 100-bp segment and includes two glucocorticoid receptor binding sites (GR1 and GR2) and two accessory factor binding sites (AF1 and AF2), all of which are required for a maximal glucocorticoid response. The AF1 element also serves as a retinoic acid response element and may be involved in developmental and tissue-specific expression of the gene. In this study we report that COUP-TF and HNF-4, two orphan members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, bind to the AF1 element and function as accessory factors for the glucocorticoid response of the PEPCK gene.

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