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Endocrinology. 1996 Apr;137(4):1438-46.

Enhancement of thyroid hormone receptor isoform specificity by insertion of a distant half-site into a thyroid hormone response element.

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Program in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The two isoforms of thyroid hormone receptor (TR), alpha and beta, are highly homologous, except in the amino-terminal domain. Specific physiological roles for the receptor isoforms have not yet been defined. In transient transfection assays, TRalpha is twice as potent a thyroid hormone (T3)-dependent transactivator as TRbeta on a number of thyroid hormone response elements (TREs). Using chimeras of TRalpha and -beta, we have determined that the higher transactivation by TRalpha requires the entire ligand-binding domain. The amino-terminal and DNA-binding domains of the two isoforms are interchangeable. These studies were facilitated by the use of a synthetic TRE composed of a direct repeat separated by 4 bp which also included a third half-site 19 bp 3' to this on the opposite strand. In the presence of T3, this TRE confers a 5-fold higher response to TRalpha than to TRbeta, but there is no difference in expression without T3. Functional studies indicate that all three half-sites are needed for the increased responsiveness to TRalpha, but gel shift analyses show no striking differences in the ratios of TRalpha to TRbeta binding compared to other wild-type TREs. These results suggest that important functional differences are present in the ligand-binding domain of TRalpha and -beta despite their high homology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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