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Mol Endocrinol. 2009 Jul;23(7):989-1000. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0048. Epub 2009 Apr 16.

ALU repeats in promoters are position-dependent co-response elements (coRE) that enhance or repress transcription by dimeric and monomeric progesterone receptors.

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Department of Medicine/Endocrinology, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado 80045, USA.


We have conducted an in silico analysis of progesterone response elements (PRE) in progesterone receptor (PR) up-regulated promoters. Imperfect inverted repeats, direct repeats, and half-site PRE are widespread, not only in PR-regulated, but also in non-PR-regulated and random promoters. Few resemble the commonly used palindromic PRE with three nucleotide (nt) spacers. We speculated that PRE may be necessary but insufficient to control endogenous PR-dependent transcription. A search for PRE partners identified a highly conserved 234-nt sequence invariably located within 1-2 kb of transcription start sites. It resembles ALU repeats and contains binding sites for 11 transcription factors. The 234-nt sequence of the PR-regulated 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase promoter was cloned in the forward or reverse orientation in front of zero, one, or two inverted repeat PRE, and one or tandem PRE half-sites, driving luciferase. Under these conditions the 234-nt sequence functions as a co-response element (coRE). From the PRE or tandem half-sites, the reverse coRE is a strong activator of PR and glucocorticoid receptor-dependent transcription. The forward coRE is a powerful repressor. The prevalence of PRE half-sites in natural promoters suggested that PR monomers regulate transcription. Indeed, dimerization-domain mutant PR monomers were stronger transactivators than wild-type PR on PRE or tandem half-sites. This was repressed by the forward coRE. We propose that in natural promoters the coRE functions as a composite response element with imperfect PRE and half-sites to present variable, orientation-dependent transcription factors for interaction with nearby PR.

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