Integrative analysis of SF-1 transcription factor dosage impact on genome-wide binding and gene expression regulation

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Abstract

Steroidogenic Factor-1 (SF-1) is a nuclear receptor that has a pivotal role in the development of adrenal glands and gonads and in the control of steroid hormone production, being also implicated in the pathogenesis of adrenocortical tumors. We have analyzed the mechanisms how SF-1 controls gene expression in adrenocortical cells and showed that it regulates different categories of genes according to its dosage. Significant correlations exist between the localization of SF-1-binding sites in chromatin under different dosage conditions and dosage-dependent regulation of gene expression. Our study revealed unexpected functional interactions between SF-1 and Neuron-Restrictive Silencer Factor/RE1-Silencing Transcription Factor (NRSF/REST), which was first characterized as a repressor of neuronal gene expression in non-neuronal tissues, in the regulation of gene expression in steroidogenic cells. When overexpressed, SF-1 reshapes the repertoire of NRSF/REST—regulated genes, relieving repression of key steroidogenic genes. These data show that NRSF/REST has a novel function in regulating gene expression in steroidogenic cells and suggest that it may have a broad role in regulating tissue-specific gene expression programs.

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