Tpit/Pitx-responsive element (Tpit/PitxR-E), which binds transcription factors Tpit and Pitx1, confers cell-type specific expression of proopiomelanocortin (POMC) gene in pituitary corticotrops where the gene expression is mainly regulated by corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and glucocorticoids (Gcs). CRH stimulates POMC gene expression, which is mediated by the accumulation of intracellular cAMP and requires binding of Nur factors to Nur-responsive element (NurRE). Gcs antagonize NurRE-dependent POMC gene expression through direct interaction between glucocorticoid receptors and Nur factors. We examined whether Tpit/ PitxRE and NurRE are involved in CRH/cAMP-induced activation and Gc-induced repression of POMC gene expression by reporter assay in AtT-20 corticotropic cells. Deletion and mutation of Tpit/PitxR-E markedly reduced basal activity of the promoter, and those of NurRE decreased the levels of the CRH/cAMP-induced activation. Nifedipine, KN-62, and W-7, specific inhibitors of the L-type calcium channel, calmoduhn-dependent protein kinase II, and calmodulin respectively, attenuated CRH/cAMP-induced activation of promoters with three copies of either Tpit/PitxRE or NurRE, indicating that both Tpit/PitxRE and NurRE mediate CRH-induced activation of POMC gene expression in a calcium-dependent manner. Deletion and mutation of Tpit/PitxRE abolished dexamethasone (DEX)-induced repression of POMC gene expression, while those of NurRE did not, indicating that Tpit/PitxRE predominantly mediates Gc-induced repression of POMC transcription. However, DEX treatment attenuated activities of promoters with three copies of either Tpit/PitxRE or NurRE, suggesting that Gcs act at NurRE as well as Tpit/ PitxRE to repress POMC gene expression. We conclude that Tpit/PitxRE is an important element by which CRH and Gcs regulate the POMC gene expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism