The androgen (AR) and glucocorticoid receptors (GR) are related ligand-activated transcriptional regulators which bind the same cis-acting element and are coexpressed in a variety of cell types. Despite a shared DNA binding site, these receptors mediate diverse cellular responses. To explain this paradox, the existence of cell-specific factors that interact with, and modulate the function of, distinct receptors has been proposed. Prostate epithelial cell growth is sensitive to androgens, but is not affected by glucocorticoids, even though both AR and GR are expressed in these cells. We have recently isolated a unique panel of prostate epithelial cell lines from normal rats and have used these cell lines to examine cell-specific steroid responses. In this study, we compared the abilities of AR and GR to enhance transcription of several different reporter genes regulated by simple (i.e., noncomposite) hormone response elements (HREs) in prostate and nonprostate cell lines. The cell-specific effect occurred independently of the AR hormone binding domain and could he observed with a GAL4 fusion protein containing only the AR N-terminal regulatory domain. Gel shift analyses showed that the relative DNA binding affinity of AR for a probe containing a simple HRE was similar in prostate and nonprostate cell extracts. Presently, the only factors known to mediate steroid receptor-specific gene regulation are cJun and cFos, but there were no cell-specific differences in the functional levels of these proteins which could account for a preferential effect on AR-dependent transcription. Taken together, these results suggest that cell-specific activities exist which can preferentially modulate transcriptional transactivation by AR.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology