The 70-kDa heat shock cognate protein (Hsc73) gene is enhanced by ovarian hormones in the ventromedial hypothalamus.
Estrogen (E) and progesterone (P) orchestrate many cellular responses involved in female reproductive physiology, including reproductive behaviors. E- and P-binding neurons important for lordosis behavior have been located within the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH), and several hormone-responsive genes have been observed there as well. In attempts to identify additional E- and P-responsive genes in the VMH that may contribute to sexual behaviors, we used the differential display mRNA screening technique. One of the genes identified encodes the 73-kDa heat shock cognate protein (Hsc73). Quantitative in situ hybridization analysis of brains from naturally cycling female rats revealed a significant increase in Hsc73 mRNA in the VMH and arcuate nucleus of animals during proestrus compared with those at diestrus-1. To confirm that these increases were steroid hormone dependent, we compared vehicle-treated ovariectomized females with ovariectomized females treated with estradiol benzoate and P. Northern analysis and in situ hybridizations showed that the Hsc73 gene is enhanced by E and P in the pituitary and subregions of the VMH. Incidentally, by examining the primary amino acid sequence of rat, human, and chicken progesterone receptors, we noticed that putative Hsc73 binding sites are conserved across species with similar sites existing in the androgen and glucocorticoid receptors. Together these findings suggest a possible mechanism through which E could influence the activities of progesterone, androgen, and glucocorticoid receptors, by enhancing the expression of Hsc73 in cells where these proteins colocalize.
Krebs, CJ; Jarvis, ED; Pfaff, DW
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