NeuroD factors discriminate mineralocorticoid from glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding in the male rat brain

Abstract: In the limbic brain, mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs) and glucocorticoid receptors (GRs) both function as receptors for the naturally occurring glucocorticoids (corticosterone/cortisol) but mediate distinct effects on cellular physiology via transcriptional mechanisms. The transcriptional basis for specificity of these MR- vs GR-mediated effects is unknown. To address this conundrum, we have identified the extent of MR/GR DNA-binding selectivity in the rat hippocampus using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing. We found 918 and 1450 nonoverlapping binding sites for MR and GR, respectively. Furthermore, 475 loci were co-occupied by MR and GR. De novo motif analysis resulted in a similar binding motif for both receptors at 100% of the target loci, which matched the known glucocorticoid response element (GRE). In addition, the Atoh/NeuroD consensus sequence was found in co-occurrence with all MR-specific binding sites but was absent for GR-specific or MR-GR overlapping sites. Basic helix-loop-helix family members Neurod1, Neurod2, and Neurod6 showed hippocampal expression and were hypothesized to bind the Atoh motif. Neurod2 was detected at rat hippocampal MR binding sites but not at GR-exclusive sites. All three NeuroD transcription factors acted as DNA-binding–dependent coactivators for both MR and GR in reporter assays in heterologous HEK293 cells, likely via indirect interactions with the receptors. In conclusion, a NeuroD family member binding to an additional motif near the GRE seems to drive specificity for MR over GR binding at hippocampal binding sites.

Lisa van Weert, Jacobus C. Buurstede, Ahmed Mahfouz, Pamela S.M. Braakhuis, J. Annelies E. Polman, et al. NeuroD factors discriminate mineralocorticoid from glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding in the male rat brain. Endocrinology, 158(5): pp. 1511–1522, 2017.
@article { bib:2017_endo_neurod,
author = { Lisa van Weert and Jacobus C. Buurstede and Ahmed Mahfouz and Pamela S.M. Braakhuis and J. Annelies E. Polman and Hetty C.M. Sips and Benno Roozendaal and Judit Balog and E. Ronald de Kloet and Nicole A. Datson and Onno Meijer },
title = { NeuroD factors discriminate mineralocorticoid from glucocorticoid receptor DNA binding in the male rat brain },
journal = { Endocrinology },
volume = { 158 },
number = { 5 },
pages = { 1511 -- 1522 },
year = { 2017 },
doi = { 10.1210/en.2016-1422 },
}
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