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Endocrinology. 2001 Dec;142(12):5116-23.

LH induces orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 gene expression in testicular Leydig cells.

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Hormone Research Center, Chonnam National University, Kwangju 500-757, Republic of Korea.


The orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 (NR4A1) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and plays an important role in the regulation of genes involved in steroidogenesis and cell death. Northern blot analysis revealed that the expression of Nur77 mRNA was increased after puberty in mouse testis, and hCG treatment of peripubertal animals induced this gene expression in the testis. Moreover, LH treatment induced a transient increase in Nur77 mRNA, and this induction was LH dose dependent in mouse Leydig tumor cell line, K28. Western blot analysis showed that LH transiently induced Nur77 protein. The protein kinase inhibitor H-89, bisindolymaleimide I, and wortmannin strongly inhibited this inductive effect of LH on Nur77 gene expression. Transient transfection assay demonstrated that LH significantly increased the Nur77 promoter-driven luciferase reporter activity in a dose-dependent manner, and LH also increased the activity of a luciferase reporter gene driven by a promoter containing multi copies of a Nur77-responsive element. Moreover, EMSA showed that Nur77 DNA-binding activity was increased in response to LH. Finally, overexpression of dominant negative Nur77 reduced LH-mediated progesterone biosynthesis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that LH induces Nur77 gene expression, and Nur77 may play an important role in the LH-mediated steroidogenesis in Leydig cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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