Transcriptional Regulation of dehydroepiandrosterone sulfotransferase (SULT2A1) by Estrogen-Related Receptor Alpha (ERR-alpha)
Transcriptional regulation of Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfotransferase (SULT2A1) by
Estrogen-Related Receptor ? (ERR?)
Jeremiah Brent Seely
The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 2006
Supervising Professor: William E. Rainey, Ph.D.
The estrogen-related receptors (ERR ?, ? and ?) are a subfamily of orphan nuclear
receptors (designated NR3B1, NR3B2 and NR3B3) that are structurally and functionally
related to estrogen receptors ? and ?. Herein we test the hypothesis that ERR?
regulates transcription of the genes encoding the enzymes involved in adrenal steroid
production. Real-time RT-PCR was first used to determine the levels of ERR? mRNA in
various human tissues. Adult adrenal levels of ERR? transcript were similar to that seen
in heart, which is known to highly express ERR?. Expression of ERR? in the adult
adrenal was then confirmed using western blotting and immunohistochemistry. To
examine the effects of ERR? on steroidogenic capacity we used reporter constructs with
the 5’-flanking regions of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), cholesterol
side-chain cleavage (CYP11A), 3? hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type II (HSD3B2),
17?hydroxylase, 17,20 lyase (CYP17), and DHEA sulfotransferase (SULT2A1). Cotransfection
of these reporter constructs with wild-type ERR? or VP16-ERR? expression
vectors demonstrated ERR? enhanced reporter activity driven by flanking DNA from
CYP17 and SULT2A1. SULT2A1 promoter activity was most responsive to the ERR?
and VP16-ERR?, increasing activity 2.6- and 79.5-fold respectively. ERR? effects on
SULT2A1 were greater than the stimulation seen in response to steroidogenic factor 1
(SF1). Transfection of serial deletions of the 5’-flanking DNA of the SULT2A1 gene and
EMSA experiments indicated the presence of three functional regulatory cis-elements
which shared sequence similarity to binding sites for SF1. Taken together, the
expression of ERR? in the adrenal and its regulation of SULT2A1 suggest an important
role for this orphan receptor in the regulation of adrenal steroid production.