The C-terminal region of the vitamin D receptor is essential to form a complex with a receptor auxiliary factor required for high affinity binding to the vitamin D-responsive element

Shigeo Nakajima, Jui Cheng Hsieh, Paul N. MacDonald, Michael A. Galligan, Carol A. Haussler, G. Kerr Whitfield, Mark R. Haussler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Scopus citations


The human vitamin D receptor (hVDR) requires another nuclear protein(s), designated receptor auxiliary factor (RAF), for optimal binding to the vitamin D-responsive element (VDRE). To determine the region in hVDR required to form a heterodimer with RAF on the VDRE, mutant hVDR cDNAs were constructed by site-directed mutagenesis and transfected into COS-7 cells. A truncated hVDR, lacking 25 C-terminal amino acids (Δ 403-427), showed complex production in combination with endogenous RAF in COS-7 cells. Complex development was markedly enhanced by adding a rat liver nuclear fraction, which contains RAF activity, or either the α or β form of the retinoid-X receptor, which has been reported to be closely related or identical to RAF. In contrast, either a C-terminal truncation of 46 amino acids (Δ 382-427) or single point mutations at lysine-382, methionine-383, glutamine-385, or leucine-390 dramatically reduced the ability of hVDR to heterodimerize with RAF. Binding of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1,25-(OH)2D3] hormone was undetectable in Δ 382-427 truncated hVDR, whereas the Δ 403-427 mutant hVDR exhibited significant 1,25-(OH)2D3 ligand binding, although the dissociation constant was approximately 10-fold higher than that of the wild-type receptor. Surprisingly, the Δ403-427 mutant hVDR did not mediate measurable transcriptional activation in cotransfection experiments with a VDRE-GH reporter gene construct. These results indicate that hVDR residues between cysteine-403 and serine-427 are required for very high affinity 1,25-(OH)2D3 ligand binding and transcriptional activation, but are not involved in heterodimerization. The region of hVDR between lysine-382 and arginine-402, probably the domain containing heptad 9, plays an essential role in the heterodimerization of hVDR with RAF. However, based upon additional point mutagenesis experiments, it is likely that other regions of the hormone-binding domain, such as that including heptad 4 (leucine-325 to leucine-332), also contribute to the protein-protein interactions required for the high affinity, specific binding of hVDR to the VDRE.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology

Cite this