Chronic inflammation of adipose tissue is viewed as a hallmark of obesity and contributes to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. According to current models, nutrient excess causes metabolic and structural changes in adipocytes, which initiate transcriptional programs leading to the expression of inflammatory molecules and the subsequent recruitment of immune cells. Recent advances in deciphering the underlying mechanisms revealed that key regulatory events occur at the genomic and epigenomic levels. Here we review these advances because they offer a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the complex obesogenic program in adipose tissue, and because they may help in defining new therapeutic strategies that prevent, restrict, and resolve inflammation in the context of obesity.
DAX-1 and SHP are two closely related atypical orphan members of the nuclear receptor (NR) family that make up the NR0B subfamily. They combine properties of typical NRs and of NR-associated coregulators: both carry the characteristic NR ligand-binding domain but instead of a NR DNA-binding domain they have unique N-terminal regions that contain LxxLL-related NR-binding motifs often found in coregulators. Recent structural data indicate that DAX-1 lacks a ligand-binding pocket and thus should rely on ligand-independent mechanisms of regulation. This might be true, but remains to be proven, for SHP as well. DAX-1 and SHP have in common that they act as transcriptional corepressors of cholesterol metabolism pathways that are related on a molecular level. However, the expression patterns of the two NRs are largely different, with some notable exceptions, and so are the physiological processes they regulate. DAX-1 is mainly involved in steroidogenesis and reproductive development, while SHP plays major roles in maintaining cholesterol and glucose homeostasis. This review highlights the key similarities and differences between DAX-1 and SHP with regard to structure, function and biology and considers what can be learnt from recent research advances in the field. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Orphan Receptors.
The acute phase response (APR) classically refers to the rapid reprogramming of gene expression and metabolism in response to inflammatory cytokine signaling. As components of the innate immune system, hepatocyte-derived acute phase proteins (APPs) play a central role in restoring tissue homeostasis. Recently, an intriguing metaflammatory facet of the APR became evident with chronically elevated APP levels being connected to metabolic syndrome disorders. The causality of these connections is unclear but could relate to adverse metabolic and inflammatory disturbances, particularly those affecting lipoprotein properties, cholesterol metabolism and atherogenesis. Here we review these aspects with an emphasis on the emerging importance of lipid-sensing nuclear receptors (LXRs, LRH-1, PPARs), in conjunction with anti-inflammatory transrepression pathways, as physiological and pharmacological relevant modulators of the APR.
Nuclear receptors (NRs) exert crucial functions in controlling metabolism and inflammation by both positively and negatively regulating gene expression. Recent evidence suggests that the transcriptional activities of many NRs can be modulated and even re-directed through post-translational modification by small ubiquitin-related modifiers (SUMO). SUMOylation triggers a plethora of diverse molecular events that can alter both the fate and function of modified NRs at the nongenomic, genomic, and epigenomic level. However, it is the intriguing link of SUMOylation to transcriptional repression, and in particular to transrepression, that has emerged as a common underlying mechanism that impacts on biological processes controlled by NRs. It further appears that the cell-type-specific SUMOylation status of NRs can be regulated by ligands and by signal-dependent crosstalk of post-translational modifications. Given the causal role of altered NR signaling in the development and pathogenesis of human diseases, it is likely that aberrant SUMO conjugation, deconjugation, or interpretation contributes to these alterations. Here, we review the current progress made in both the study and understanding of the molecular mechanisms and consequences of NR SUMOylation and also discuss the physiological and pharmacological implications with a particular focus on transrepression pathways that link metabolism and inflammation. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Translating nuclear receptors from health to disease.
The orphan receptor LRH-1 and the oxysterol receptors LXRalpha and LXRbeta are established transcriptional regulators of lipid metabolism that appear to control inflammatory processes. Here, we investigate the anti-inflammatory actions of these nuclear receptors in the hepatic acute phase response (APR). We report that selective synthetic agonists induce SUMOylation-dependent recruitment of either LRH-1 or LXR to hepatic APR promoters and prevent the clearance of the N-CoR corepressor complex upon cytokine stimulation. Investigations of the APR in vivo, using LXR knockout mice, indicate that the anti-inflammatory actions of LXR agonists are triggered selectively by the LXRbeta subtype. We further find that hepatic APR responses in small ubiquitin-like modifier-1 (SUMO-1) knockout mice are increased, which is due in part to diminished LRH-1 action at APR promoters. Finally, we provide evidence that the metabolically important coregulator GPS2 functions as a hitherto unrecognized transrepression mediator of interactions between SUMOylated nuclear receptors and the N-CoR corepressor complex. Our study extends the knowledge of anti-inflammatory mechanisms and pathways directed by metabolic nuclear receptor-corepressor networks to the control of the hepatic APR, and implies alternative pharmacological strategies for the treatment of human metabolic diseases associated with inflammation.
Dyslexia, or specific reading disability, is the unexpected failure in learning to read and write when intelligence and senses are normal. One of the susceptibility genes, DYX1C1, has been implicated in neuronal migration, but little is known about its interactions and functions. As DYX1C1 was suggested to interact with the U-box protein CHIP (carboxy terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein), which also participates in the degradation of estrogen receptors alpha (ERalpha) and beta (ERbeta), we hypothesized that the effects of DYX1C1 might be at least in part mediated through the regulation of ERs. ERs have shown to be important in brain development and cognitive functions. Indeed, we show that DYX1C1 interacts with both ERs in the presence of 17beta-estradiol, as determined by co-localization, co-immunoprecipitation and proximity ligation assays. Protein levels of endogenous ERalpha or exogenous ERbeta were reduced upon over-expression of DYX1C1, resulting in decreased transcriptional responses to 17beta-estradiol. Furthermore, we detected in vivo complexes of DYX1C1 with ERalpha or ERbeta at endogenous levels along neurites of primary rat hippocampal neurons. Taken together, our data suggest that DYX1C1 is involved in the regulation of ERalpha and ERbeta, and may thus affect the brain development and regulate cognitive functions. These findings provide novel insights into the function of DYX1C1 and link neuronal migration and developmental dyslexia to the estrogen-signaling effects in the brain.
Genetic and experimental evidence points to a critical involvement of the atypical mammalian orphan receptor DAX-1 in reproductive development and steroidogenesis. Unlike conventional nuclear receptors, DAX-1 appears not to function as a DNA-bound transcription factor. Instead, it has acquired the capability to act as a transcriptional corepressor of steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1). The interplay of DAX-1 and SF-1 is considered a central, presumably ligand-independent element of adrenogonadal development and function that requires tight regulation. This raises a substantial interest in identifying its modulators and the regulatory signals involved. Here, we uncover molecular mechanisms that link DAX-1 to the ubiquitin modification system via functional interaction with the E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF31. We demonstrate that RNF31 is coexpressed with DAX-1 in steroidogenic tissues and participates in repressing steroidogenic gene expression. We provide evidence for the in vivo existence of a corepressor complex containing RNF31 and DAX-1 at the promoters of the StAR and CYP19 genes. Our data suggest that RNF31 functions to stabilize DAX-1, which might be linked to DAX-1 monoubiquitination. In conclusion, RNF31 appears to be required for DAX-1 to repress transcription, provides means to regulate DAX-1 in ligand-independent ways, and emerges as a relevant coregulator of steroidogenic pathways governing physiology and disease.
Transcriptional coregulators, rather than ligand signals, are suspected to confer context and pathway specificity to nuclear receptor signaling, but the identity of such specifying coregulators and the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely enigmatic. Here we address this issue in metabolic oxysterol receptor LXR pathways and describe the selective requirement of GPS2 for ABCG1 cholesterol transporter gene transcription and cholesterol efflux from macrophages. We implicate GPS2 in facilitating LXR recruitment to an ABCG1-specific promoter/enhancer unit upon ligand activation and identify functional links to histone H3K9 demethylation. We further describe fundamental differences between ABCG1 and ABCA1 with regard to GPS2 in relation to other coregulators, which are likely to apply to additional LXR-regulated genes. Our work identifies a coregulator-dependent epigenetic mechanism governing the access of a nuclear receptor to communicating regulatory regions in the genome. The pathway and coregulator selectivity of this mechanism implies pharmacological possibilities for the development of selective LXR agonists.
Low-grade chronic inflammation is a major characteristic of obesity and results from deregulated white adipose tissue function. Consequently, there is interest in identifying the underlying regulatory mechanisms and components that drive adipocyte inflammation. Here, we report that expression of the transcriptional corepressor complex subunits GPS2 and SMRT was significantly reduced in obese adipose tissue, inversely correlated to inflammatory status, and was restored upon gastric bypass surgery-induced weight loss in morbid obesity. These alterations correlated with reduced occupancy of the corepressor complex at inflammatory promoters, providing a mechanistic explanation for elevated inflammatory transcription. In support of these correlations, RNAi-mediated depletion of GPS2 and SMRT from cultured human adipocytes promoted derepression of inflammatory transcription and elevation of obesity-associated inflammatory markers, such as IL-6 and MCP-1. Furthermore, we identified a regulatory cascade containing PPAR? and TWIST1 that controlled the expression of GPS2 and SMRT in human adipocytes. These findings were clinically relevant, because treatment of diabetic obese patients with pioglitazone, an antidiabetic and antiinflammatory PPAR? agonist, restored expression of TWIST1, GPS2, and SMRT in adipose tissue. Collectively, our findings identify alterations in a regulatory transcriptional network in adipocytes involving the dysregulation of a specific corepressor complex as among the initiating events promoting adipose tissue inflammation in human obesity.
Nuclear receptors (NRs) are master regulators of transcriptional programs that integrate the homeostatic control of almost all biological processes. Their direct mode of ligand regulation and genome interaction is at the core of modern pharmacology. The two liver X receptors LXR? and LXR? are among the emerging newer drug targets within the NR family. LXRs are best known as nuclear oxysterol receptors and physiological regulators of lipid and cholesterol metabolism that also act in an anti-inflammatory way. Because LXRs control diverse pathways in development, reproduction, metabolism, immunity and inflammation, they have potential as therapeutic targets for diseases as diverse as lipid disorders, atherosclerosis, chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases. Recent insights into LXR signaling suggest future targeting strategies aiming at increasing LXR subtype and pathway selectivity. This review discusses the current status of our understanding of LXR biology and pharmacology, with an emphasis on the molecular aspects of LXR signaling that constitute the potential of LXRs as drug targets.
The orphan nuclear receptor Steroidogenic Factor-1 (SF-1, NR5A1) is a critical regulator of development and homeostasis of the adrenal cortex and gonads. We recently showed that a complex containing E3 ubiquitin ligase RNF31 and the known SF-1 corepressor DAX-1 (NR0B1) interacts with SF-1 on target promoters and represses transcription of steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) and aromatase (CYP19) genes. To further evaluate the role of SF-1 in the adrenal cortex and the involvement of RNF31 in SF-1-dependent pathways, we performed genome-wide gene-expression analysis of adrenocortical NCI-H295R cells where SF-1 or RNF31 had been knocked down using RNA interference. We find RNF31 to be deeply connected to cholesterol metabolism and steroid hormone synthesis, strengthening its role as an SF-1 coregulator. We also find intriguing evidence of negative crosstalk between SF-1 and both transforming growth factor (TGF) ? and Wnt/?-catenin signaling. This crosstalk could be of importance for adrenogonadal development, maintenance of adrenocortical progenitor cells and the development of adrenocortical carcinoma. Finally, the SF-1 gene profile can be used to distinguish malignant from benign adrenocortical tumors, a finding that implicates SF-1 in the development of malignant adrenocortical carcinoma.
The liver X receptors (LXRs) are oxysterol sensing nuclear receptors with multiple effects on metabolism and immune cells. However, the complete genome-wide cistrome of LXR in cells of human origin has not yet been provided.
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