A Novel Isoform of Liver Receptor Homolog-1 Is Regulated by Steroidogenic Factor-1 and the Specificity Protein Family in Ovarian Granulosa Cells

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Liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1) is a member of the nuclear receptor 5A (NR5A) subfamily. It is expressed in granulosa cells of the ovary and is involved in steroidogenesis and ovulation. To reveal the transcriptional regulatory mechanism of LRH-1, we determined its transcription start site in the ovary using KGN cells, a human granulosa cell tumor cell line. 5′-rapid amplification of cDNA ends PCR revealed that human ovarian LRH-1 was transcribed from a novel transcription start site, termed exon 2o, located 41 bp upstream of the reported exon 2. The novel LRH-1 isoform was expressed in the human ovary but not the liver. Promoter analysis and an EMSA indicated that a steroidogenic factor-1 (SF-1) binding site and a GC box upstream of exon 2o were required for promoter activity, and that SF-1 and specificity protein (Sp)-1/3 bind to the respective regions in ovarian granulosa cells. In KGN cells, transfection of SF-1 increased ovarian LRH-1 promoter activity and SF-1-dependent reporter activity was further enhanced when peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α (PGC-1α) was cotransfected. In Drosophila SL2 cells, Sp1 was more effective than Sp3 in enhancing promoter activity, and co-transfection of the NR5A-family synergistically increased activity. Infection with adenoviruses expressing SF-1 or PGC-1α induced LRH-1 expression in KGN cells. These results indicate that the expression of human LRH-1 is regulated in a tissue-specific manner, and that the novel promoter region is controlled by the Sp-family, NR5A-family and PGC-1α in ovarian granulosa cells in a coordinated fashion.

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