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Circ Res. 2003 May 16;92(9):1033-40. Epub 2003 Apr 10.

Identification of a nuclear orphan receptor (Ear2) as a negative regulator of renin gene transcription.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA.


A potent transcriptional enhancer was previously identified upstream of the mouse renin gene. Within the enhancer is a TGACCT direct-repeat motif, required for enhancer activity, that is the consensus sequence recognized by members of the thyroid hormone subfamily of steroid hormone receptors. We previously reported that RAR/RXR bind to this sequence and mediate the induction of renin promoter activity by retinoids. However, gel mobility shift assays clearly show that other as yet unidentified factors also bind to this motif. In order to identify some of these TGACCT binding factors, we screened a yeast one-hybrid cDNA library derived from mouse As4.1 cells. One of these encoded the orphan nuclear receptor Ear2. Recombinant Ear2 was purified from Escherichia coli and an antipeptide antisera was generated. EMSA showed that purified recombinant Ear2 specifically binds the TGACCT direct-repeat motif. Transfection assays showed that Ear2 potently decreases both baseline and retinoid-induced mouse renin promoter activity in a dose-dependent, enhancer-dependent, and sequence-specific manner. Mutations in Ear2, which abolish its binding to the TGACCT motif, also abolish transcriptional repression. Ear2 was identified as a nuclear protein in As4.1 cells, is one of the proteins binding to the TGACCT repeat motif, and its overexpression can repress transcription of the endogenous renin gene in As4.1 cells. These data suggest that Ear2 is a negative modulator of renin gene transcription in As4.1 cells, and that the renin enhancer may actually encode a complex positive and negative regulator of transcription.

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