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Neuroendocrinology. 2001 Oct;74(4):244-50.

Regulation of Dexras1 expression by endogenous steroids.

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Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.


Dexras1, a newly identified member of the Ras superfamily of proteins, was discovered in AtT-20 corticotrope cells because its expression was induced in response to glucocorticoids (dexamethasone; Dex). As yet, the function of Dexras1 is unknown, but its rapid induction in response to glucocorticoids suggests the possibility that it may be involved in negative feedback regulation of corticotropin secretion. To better understand the control of Dexras1 expression, possible effects of other steroid hormones on its expression were studied in both AtT-20 cells and in mouse pituitaries. AtT-20 cells were treated with each of 6 steroids [aldosterone, corticosterone (Cort), Dex, beta-estradiol (E(2)), progesterone and testosterone] for 2 h. Dexras1 expression was assessed using both reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and Northern analysis. Expression of the gene was only induced in response to glucocorticoid treatment (Dex or Cort). The 6 steroids were also injected into mice, pituitaries were harvested and total RNA was obtained for RT-PCR analysis. Surprisingly, treatment with E(2), not only injection of glucocorticoids, induced Dexras1 expression in mouse pituitary. Other steroids were without effect. The results suggest that in AtT-20 corticotropes, Dexras1 expression is only induced by glucocorticoid-type steroids. In pituitary glands of mice, the gene's expression is also responsive to E(2). We conclude that either Dexras1 expression in corticotropes from normal mice is regulated differently from that in AtT-20 cells, or that Dexras1 is also expressed in other pituitary cells than corticotropes.

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