Expression level-dependent contribution of glucocorticoid receptor domains for functional interaction with STAT5

W. Doppler, M. Windegger, C. Soratroi, J. Tomasi, J. Lechner, S. Rusconi, A. C.B. Cato, T. Almlöf, J. Liden, S. Okret, J. Å Gustafsson, H. Richard-Foy, D. B. Starr, H. Klocker, D. Edwards, S. Geymayer

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43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The action of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) on β-casein gene transcription serves as a well-studied example of a case where the action of the GR is dependent on the activity of another transcription factor, STAT5. We have investigated the domain-requirement of the GR for this synergistic response in transfection experiments employing GR mutants and CV-1 or COS-7 cells. The results were influenced by the expression levels of the GR constructs. At low expression, STAT5-dependent transactivation by mutants of the GR DNA binding domain or N-terminal transactivation domain was impaired and the antiglucocorticoid RU486 exhibited a weak agonistic activity. When the N-terminal region of the GR was exchanged with the respective domain of the progesterone receptor, STAT5-dependent transactivation was reduced at low and high expression levels. Only at high expression levels did the GR exhibit the properties of a coactivator and enhanced STAT5 activity in the absence of a functional DNA binding domain and of GR binding sites in the proximal region of the β-casein gene promoter. Furthermore, at high GR expression levels RU486 was nearly as efficient as dexamethasone in activating transcription via the STAT5 dependent β-casein gene promoter. The results reconcile the controversial issue regarding the DNA binding-independent action of the GR together with STAT5 and provide evidence that the mode of action of the GR depends not only on the type of the particular promoter at which it acts but also on the concentration of the GR. GR DNA binding function appears to be mandatory for β-casein gene expression in mammary epithelial cells, since the promoter function is completely dependent on the integrity of GR binding sites in the promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3266-3279
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and Cellular Biology
Volume21
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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