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J Biol Chem. 2000 Feb 4;275(5):3446-54.

Transcription activation by the orphan nuclear receptor, chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor I (COUP-TFI). Definition of the domain involved in the glucocorticoid response of the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-0615, USA.


Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factors (COUP-TFs), orphan members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, play a key role in the regulation of organogenesis, neurogenesis, and cellular differentiation during embryogenic development. COUP-TFs are also involved in the regulation of several genes that encode metabolic enzymes. Although COUP-TFs function as potent transcription repressors, there are at least three different molecular mechanisms of activation of gene expression by COUP-TFs. First, as we have previously shown, COUP-TF is required as an accessory factor for the complete induction of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene transcription by glucocorticoids. This action is mediated by the binding of COUP-TF to the glucocorticoid accessory factor 1 (gAF1) and 3 (gAF3) elements in the phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase gene glucocorticoid response unit. In addition, COUP-TF1 binds to DNA elements in certain genes and transactivates directly. Finally, COUP-TF1 serves as a coactivator through DNA-bound hepatic nuclear factor 4. Here we show that the same region of COUP-TFI, located between amino acids 184 and 423, is involved in these three mechanisms of transactivation by COUP-TFI. Furthermore, we show that GRIP1 and SRC-1 potentiate the activity of COUP-TFI and that COUP-TFI associates with these coactivators in vivo using the same region required for transcription activation. Finally, overexpression of GRIP1 or SRC-1 does not convert COUP-TFI from a transcriptional repressor into a transcriptional activator in HeLa cells.

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