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Mol Cell Endocrinol. 1998 Feb;137(2):145-54.

Nuclear orphan receptors COUP-TFII and Ear-2: presence in oxytocin-producing uterine cells and functional interaction with the oxytocin gene promoter.

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Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada.


We have previously demonstrated that the oxytocin (OT) gene is expressed in the rat uterine epithelium and that its expression is upregulated in vivo and in vitro by estrogen. This hormonal regulation is mediated by a hormone response element (HRE) located in the OT gene promoter. Here we show that the same OT-HRE is also capable of interacting with two novel members of the orphan nuclear receptor family, rat COUP-TFII and Ear-2, and that this interaction antagonizes the estrogenic induction of the OT promoter. By Northern blot analysis and immunocytochemistry, using specific cDNA probes and antibodies, respectively, we demonstrate furthermore that both orphan receptors are expressed in uterine epithelial cells. Therefore, the present findings indicate that uterine OT gene expression is under stimulatory as well as inhibitory influences which are both mediated by the same HRE. More detailed analysis of the sequences necessary for estrogen receptor action and for orphan receptor action, using site-directed mutagenesis, revealed that the specific recognition sequences are overlapping but distinct: whereas the (imperfect) palindromic structure of the HRE constitutes the estrogen response element (ERE), orphan receptor action relies on an underlying direct TGACC repeat which forms part of the OT-HRE structure and overlaps with the estrogen response element.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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