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J Biol Chem. 1981 Jan 10;256(1):434-41.

Glucocorticoid receptor activation and inactivation in cultured human lymphocytes.


Although glucocorticoids are not cytolytic for and do not inhibit the growth of the IM-9 line of cultured human lymphoblasts, these cells have a high steroid-binding capacity. We have used IM-9 cells in order to examine whether unoccupied glucocorticoid receptors are inactivated and activated in intact cells. when IM-9 cells are incubated in glucose-free medium in a nitrogen atmosphere, both their ability to bind triamcinolone acetonide and their ATP levels decline and, when glucose and oxygen are reintroduced, ATP levels and receptor activity return. The specific glucocorticoid-binding activity of cytosol prepared from cells exposed to various degrees of energy limitation is directly correlated with the ATP content. Receptor activation in intact cells is rapid and independent of protein synthesis. Cytosol prepared from inactivated cells cannot be activated by addition of ATP. The inactivation of glucocorticoid receptors that occurs when cytosol from normal IM-9 cells is incubated at 25 degrees C is inhibited by molybdate, vanadate, fluoride, ATP, and several other nucleotides. The experiments with intact human lymphoblasts suggest that assays of specific glucocorticoid-binding capacity do not necessarily reflect the cellular content of receptor protein.

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