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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1997 Aug 8;131(2):233-40.

Inhibition of mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptor function by the heat shock protein 90-binding agent geldanamycin.

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IHF Institute for Hormone and Fertility Research, University of Hamburg, Germany.


The effects of mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids are mediated by the intracellular mineralocorticoid glucocorticoid receptor (MR) and glucocorticoid receptor (GR), respectively. Several studies suggest that hormone binding and, thus, receptor activation depend on the association of both MR and GR with the 90-kDa heat shock protein (hsp 90). However, there are few reports analyzing the functional relevance of this association in vivo. The present study was designed to determine how the new hsp 90-binding agent geldanamycin, which was previously shown to disrupt the formation of steroid receptor/hsp complexes, interferes with MR- and GR-mediated transactivation in intact cells. We show that geldanamycin inhibits aldosterone-dependent transactivation of a mineralocorticoid-responsive reporter genes in a concentration-dependent manner. Similar effects were observed for the dexamethasone-activated GR. However, geldanamycin did not affect transcription from a retinoic acid-dependent reporter gene. Inhibition of GR-mediated transactivation was observed both in HeLa cells expressing endogenous GR and in COS-7 cells transfected with a GRa expression vector. Binding studies indicate that geldanamycin disrupts receptor function by reducing hormone binding affinity without lowering intracellular receptor protein levels. Our data support the current model of hsp 90-dependent steroid receptor activation. Furthermore, we show for the first time that MR function also depends on the interaction with hsp 90 in intact cells. Finally, we demonstrate that the function of endogenous is thought to keep the receptor protein in an inactive, yet ligand-activable state (9-17). Ligand binding induces a conformational change in the receptor molecule, which causes it to dissociate from the hsp complex, to translocate to the cell nucleus, and, finally, to interact with specific hormone response elements in the promoter regions of hormone-responsive genes (6-8). Both MR and GR bind as homodimers to identical palindromic sequences on the target DNA, termed glucocorticoid response elements (GREs) (18). The formation of GR/MR heterodimers has also been described (19,20) and may have profound functional consequences (21). The current model of MR and GR function holds that these receptors are unable to bind their respective hormones as long as they are not associated with the hsp complex (9-17). However, experimental support for this model is mainly based on in vitro work. There are few reports analyzing the functional relevance of GR/hsp interactions in mammalian cells. In the most recent study, Whitesell et al. showed that the hspE90-binding agent geldanamycin can specifically disrupt GR/hsp association, thus inhibiting glucocorticoid-mediated transcriptional activation (22). MR is even less well studied in this respect. To our knowledge, there have not been any data supporting a functional role for proper MR/hsp interaction in intact cells. In this study, we show for the first time that MR function depends on the interaction with hsp 90 in intact human cells. Furthermore, we demonstrate that geldanamycin inhibits GR-mediated transcriptional activation in two human cells lines, confirming the results by Whitesell et al. and extending them to transfected as opposed to endogenous GR.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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