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Thyroid. 1998 Aug;8(8):703-13.

Thyroid hormone receptor coactivators and corepressors.

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Division of Endocrinology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor 48109-0678, USA.


In the absence of triiodothyronine (T3), thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) repress transcription of many genes; in the presence of T3, TRs activate transcription of those same genes. Both of these events are dependent on interactions between TRs and other nuclear proteins. TRs bind to specific DNA sequences, generally found in the 5' flanking regions of target genes. In the unliganded state, TRs interact with one of several corepressor proteins. These proteins, in turn, interact with a series of other proteins, which includes histone deacetylases. Histone deacetylation tightens chromatin structure, thus impairing access of critical transcription factors and thereby repressing transcription. In addition, corepressors may invoke mechanisms of gene repression independent of histone deacetylation. The binding of T3 causes a conformational change in the TR that results in release of the corepressor and recruitment of coactivator proteins. Several coactivator proteins appear to bind the ligand-occupied TR as a multiprotein complex. Opposite to corepressors, coactivators acetylate histones, thereby loosening chromatin structure and facilitating access of key transcription factors. Again, mechanisms independent of histone acetylation also may be involved. Overall, gene activation by T3 is a two-step process; removal of active repression, and induction of transcription to levels above the "neutral" state.

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