Thyroid hormone receptors (TRs) often modulate transcriptional activity of target genes by heterodimerization with the 9-cis retinoic acid receptor (RXR). On positive thyroid response elements (TREs), RXR favors binding of the TR-RXR complex to DNA and stimulates transcription. RXR action on negative TREs is unclear. Furthermore, the single half-site configuration of many negative TREs does not favor the binding of a classic TR-RXR heterodimer. In a comparative study using CV-1 cells (relatively RXR- and TR-deficient) and JEG-3 cells (relatively TR-deficient), we demonstrate the importance of RXR in the negative transcriptional regulation of genes of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis by tri-iodothyronine. While RXR has variable effects on ligand-independent activation produced by TRs, it was required for efficient ligand-dependent repression of the TRH gene for TRα1 and TRβ1 and of the TSH genes by all TRs. Using different RXR constructs we also observed the importance of the C-terminus of RXR but not of the N-terminus nor the DNA-binding domain, in the potentiation of negative regulation. We thus suggest that, with regard to negative regulation of the TRH and TSH genes by thyroid hormones, RXR behaves more like a cofactor than a classic heterodimerization partner.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology