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J Biol Chem. 1996 Oct 18;271(42):26267-75.

Inhibition of NFkappaB activity through maintenance of IkappaBalpha levels contributes to dihydrotestosterone-mediated repression of the interleukin-6 promoter.

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  • 1Institute on Aging, Department of Medicine, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


Androgens repress expression of many genes, yet the mechanism of this activity has remained elusive. The cytokine, interleukin-6, is active in a variety of biological systems, and its expression is repressed by androgens. Accordingly we dissected the mechanism of androgen's ability to inhibit interleukin-6 expression at the molecular level. In a series of co-transfection assays, we found that 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone, through the androgen receptor, repressed activation of the interleukin-6 promoter, in part, by inhibiting NFkappaB activity. It did not appear that 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone inhibited NFkappaB by activating the androgen receptor to compete for the NFkappaB response element as we could not detect androgen receptor binding to the IL-6 promoter by DNase I footprinting assay. However, by electrophoretic mobility shift assay we found that 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone repressed formation of NFkappaB middle dotNFkappaB response element complex formation. In LNCaP prostate carcinoma cells, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone achieved this effect through maintenance of IkappaBalpha protein levels in the face of phorbol ester, a stimulus that results in IkappaBalpha degradation. Finally, we confirmed that IkappaBalpha inhibits NFkappaB-mediated activation of the interleukin-6 promoter. These data suggest that maintenance of IkappaBalpha levels may represent the first identified mechanism for androgen-mediated repression of a natural androgen-regulated gene.

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