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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Dec 15;29(24):4901-8.

Retinoic acid receptor alpha1 variants, RARalpha1DeltaB and RARalpha1DeltaBC, define a new class of nuclear receptor isoforms.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire Hématopoïétique, INSERM U00-03, Université D. Diderot-Paris VII, Institut d'Hématologie, Hôpital Saint-Louis, Paris, France.


Retinoic acid (RA) binds and activates retinoid X receptor (RXR)/retinoic acid receptor (RAR) heterodimers, which regulate the transcription of genes that have retinoic acid response elements (RARE). The RAR isotypes (alpha, beta and gamma) are comprised of six regions designated A-F. Two isoforms of RARalpha, 1 and 2, have been identified in humans, which have different A regions generated by differential promoter usage and alternative splicing. We have isolated two new splice variants of RARalpha1 from human B lymphocytes. In one of these variants, exon 2 is juxtaposed to exon 5, resulting in an altered reading frame and a stop codon. This variant, designated RARalpha1DeltaB, does not code for a functional receptor. In the second variant, exon 2 is juxtaposed to exon 6, maintaining the reading frame. This isoform, designated RARalpha1DeltaBC, retains most of the functional domains of RARalpha1, but omits the transactivation domain AF-1 and the DNA-binding domain. Consequently, it does not bind nor transactivate RARE on its own. Nevertheless, RARalpha1DeltaBC interacts with RXRalpha and, as an RXRalpha/RARalpha1DeltaBC heterodimer, transactivates the DR5 RARE upon all-trans-RA binding. The use of RAR- and RXR-specific ligands shows that, whereas transactivation of the DR5 RARE through the RXRalpha/RARalpha1 heterodimer is mediated only by RAR ligands, transactivation through the RXRalpha/RARalpha1DeltaBC heterodimer is mediated by RAR and RXR ligands. Whilst RARalpha1 has a broad tissue distribution, RARalpha1DeltaBC has a more heterogeneous distribution, but with significant expression in myeloid cells. RARalpha1DeltaBC is an infrequent example of a functional nuclear receptor which deletes the DNA-binding domain.

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