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Mol Reprod Dev. 2008 May;75(5):931-9. doi: 10.1002/mrd.20788.

Regulation of NGFI-B/Nur77 gene expression in the rat ovary and in leydig tumor cells MA-10.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Fukui, Fukui, Japan.


NR4A1, also called NGFI-B in the rat, Nur77 in the mouse and TR3 in humans, belongs to the orphan nuclear steroid hormone receptor superfamily and is one of the immediate-early genes. In the endocrine organs, including the gonads, NGFI-B/Nur77 gene expression is rapidly induced by pituitary hormones. NGFI-B/Nur77 expression was found to be rapidly reduced by an estrogenic endocrine disrupter, diethylstilbestrol (DES) in theca interna cells of immature rat ovaries. DES treatment also triggered a rapid decrease of serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels, suggesting that DES acts on the hypothalamo-pituitary axis to suppress LH secretion from the pituitary. The transcriptional regulation of NGFI-B/Nur77 by LH/human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or 8-bromoadenosine 3'-5'-cyclic monophosphate (8 Br-cAMP) was examined in mouse Leydig tumor cells MA-10. Luciferase assays using NGFI-B/Nur77 promoter constructs and electric mobility shift assays (EMSA) showed that NGFI-B/Nur77 gene expression was mediated through three of the four activator protein-1 (AP-1)-like sites, namely the -233 AP-1, -213 AP-1 and -69 AP-1 sites adjacent to the transcription start site of the NGFI-B/Nur77 promoter. We also demonstrated here that both the Jun family and cAMP-responsive element binding (CREB) proteins bind to the -233 AP-1 site, whereas the main binding protein to the -213 AP-1 site was CREB, and Jun family protein to the -69 AP-1 site, respectively. The rapid induction of NGFI-B/Nur77 gene expression by LH/hCG in MA-10 cells appears to be mediated by both CREB and Jun family proteins through the cAMP-protein kinase A (PKA) pathway.

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