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J Biol Chem. 2000 Mar 17;275(11):7662-7.

Interaction of the corepressor Alien with DAX-1 is abrogated by mutations of DAX-1 involved in adrenal hypoplasia congenita.

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Genetisches Institut, Justus-Liebig-Universit├Ąt, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 58-62, Giessen D-35392, Germany.


DAX-1 is an unusual member of the nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily. Lack of DAX-1-mediated silencing leads to adrenal hypoplasia congenita and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Gene silencing through NHRs such as the thyroid hormone receptor (TR) is mediated by corepressors. We have previously characterized a novel corepressor, termed Alien, which interacts with TR and the ecdysone receptor but not with the retinoic acid receptors RAR or RXR. Here, we show that DAX-1 interacts with the corepressor Alien but not with the corepressor SMRT. This interaction is mediated by the DAX-1-silencing domain. Naturally occurring mutants of the DAX-1 gene fail to interact with Alien and have lost silencing function. Because the silencing domain of DAX-1 is unusual for NHRs, we mapped the interaction of Alien with DAX-1 and with TR. We show that Alien exhibits different binding characteristics to DAX-1 and TR. Furthermore, Northern experiments demonstrate that Alien is expressed in the adrenal gland and testis in tissues where DAX-1 is specifically expressed. Interestingly, a novel adrenal gland-specific mRNA of Alien was discovered. Thus, the impairment of Alien binding seems to play an important role in the pathogenesis mediated by DAX-1 mutants.

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