Mapping and characterization of the functional domains responsible for the differential activity of the A and B isoforms of the human progesterone receptor.
In humans, the biological response to progesterone is mediated by two distinct forms of the progesterone receptor (human (h) PR-A, 94 kDa and hPR-B, 114 kDa). These two isoforms are transcribed from distinct estrogen-inducible promoters within a single copy PR gene; the only difference between them is that the first 164 amino acids of hPR-B (B-upstream sequence) are absent in hPR-A. In most cell lines such as MCF-7 (human breast cancer cells), CV-1 (monkey kidney fibroblasts), and HeLa (human cervical carcinoma cells), hPR-A functions as a transcriptional repressor, whereas hPR-B functions as a transcriptional activator of progesterone-responsive genes. Interestingly, in these cell contexts, hPR-A also acts as a trans-dominant repressor of the transcriptional activity of other steroid hormone receptors. In contrast to hPR-A, which functions predominantly as a ligand-dependent transcriptional repressor, we show in this study that the A isoform of the chicken PR (cPR-A) lacks this trans-dominant repressor function and is a transcriptional activator in all contexts examined. By constructing chimeras between the N-terminal domains of the chicken and human PR, we mapped the trans-dominant repressor function of hPR-A to the first 140 amino acids of the protein. Notably, when this 140-amino acid "repressor" domain is placed onto chicken PR-A, the activity of the latter changes from a transcriptional activator to a repressor. Interestingly, however, this "repressor domain" is necessary, but not sufficient, for trans-repression as it is inactive when it is tethered to a heterologous protein. This suggests that the trans-repression function is comprised not only of the repressor domain of hPR-A but also requires the context of the receptor to function. The identification of a discrete inhibitory region within hPR-A which is transferable to another receptor implies that this region interacts with a set of transcription factors or adaptors that are distinct from those recognized by hPR-B, the identification of which will be required to define the mechanism by which hPR-A modulates steroid hormone receptor transcriptional activity. Thus, although chickens and humans both produce two very similar forms of the progesterone receptor, it is clear from these studies that the mechanism of action of progesterone in these two systems is quite different.
Giangrande, PH; Pollio, G; McDonnell, DP
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