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F Delaunay, F Pakdel, and Y Valotaire


In order to perform later studies on the transcriptional regulation of hormone-dependent genes in fish liver, we firstly examined the potential of trout liver nuclear extracts in a cell-free transcription system. As reporter genes, we used DNA sequences without G (G-free cassettes) under the control of three promoters derived from the 5′ flanking sequence of the Xenopus vitellogenin B1 gene; two of them were responsive to the oestrogen receptor (ER) through oestrogen responsive elements (ERE). Maximal transcriptional activity was obtained within a range of 40–130 μg protein per extract depending on the extract preparation. Transcription was maximal in reactions carried out at 25 °C.

Similar transcriptional activities for the three promoters were observed when transcription was performed in extracts from untreated male trout. In contrast, we observed a 4·5- to 6-fold increase in the transcription with ERE-containing promoters in comparison with that with the minimal promoter bearing only a TATA box when extracts from oestradiol-treated male trout were used. This effect was correlated with the increase in the nuclear ER concentration induced by in vivo hormonal treatment. This enhanced transcription was specifically inhibited by the addition of a 25- to 100-fold excess of ERE oligonucleotide competitor.

These data demonstrated, therefore, that transcription was ERE-dependent in this system and suggest strongly that it was mediated by the trout ER. Addition of oestradiol or the anti-oestrogens hydroxytamoxifen or ICI 164384 had no effect on the transcriptional activity of the two ERE-containing promoters, indicating that transcription was hormone-independent in trout liver nuclear extracts.

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B Horard, B Rayet, G Triqueneaux, V Laudet, F Delaunay, and JM Vanacker

Circadian gene expression has been demonstrated in many tissues and involves both positive and negative regulatory loops. The potential interferences of circadian rhythmicity with other well-known biologic rhythms, such as the ovarian cycle, at least in part controlled by estrogens, has not been questioned. The estrogen receptor-related receptor (ERR)alpha is an orphan nuclear receptor that is widely expressed in estrogen-responsive tissues such as liver, uterus and bone. In addition, expression of the ERRalpha gene has been proposed to be transcriptionally controlled by estrogens in the uterus. Here we show that the expression of ERRalpha displays a circadian rhythmicity in liver, bone and uterus. This is in contrast to other uterine estrogen-regulated genes. Analysis of clock/clock mutant mice shows that ERRalpha is an output gene of the circadian clock oscillator. The expression of clock-control genes, such as Bmal1 and Rev-erbalpha, also displays diurnal oscillations in the uterus, but not in bone. In this tissue, however, Per2 displayed a rhythmic expression, altogether suggesting unconventional loops in the regulation of circadian rhythm in bone.

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S Chopin-Delannoy, S Thenot, F Delaunay, E Buisine, A Begue, M Duterque-Coquillaud, and V Laudet

The orphan receptors Rev-erbalpha and Rev-erbbeta are members of the nuclear receptors superfamily and act as transcriptional repressors. Rev-erbalpha is expressed with a robust circadian rhythm and is involved in liver metabolism through repression of the ApoA1 gene, but no role has been yet defined for Rev-erbbeta. To gain better understanding of their function and mode of action, we characterized the proteins encoded by these two genes. Both Rev-erbalpha and Rev-erbbeta proteins were nuclear when transiently transfected in COS-1 cells. The major nuclear location signal (NLS) of Rev-erbalpha is in the amino-terminal region of the protein. Fusion of green fluorescent protein (GFP) to the amino terminus of Rev-erbalpha deletion mutants showed that the NLS is located within a 53 amino acid segment of the DNA binding domain (DBD). The homologous region of Rev-erbbeta fused to GFP also targeted the fusion protein to the nucleus, suggesting that the location of this NLS is conserved among all the Rev-erb group members. Interestingly, members of the phylogenetically closest nuclear orphan receptor group (ROR), which exhibit 58% amino acid identity with Rev-erb in the DBD, do not have their NLS located within the DBD. GFP/DBD. RORalpha or GFP/DBD.RORbeta remained cytoplasmic, in contrast to GFP/DBD. Rev-erb fusion proteins. Alignment of human Rev-erb and ROR DBD amino acid sequences predicted that the two basic residues, K167 and R168, located just upstream from the second zinc finger, could play a critical part in the nuclear localization of Rev-erb proteins. Substitution of these two residues with those found in ROR, in the GFP/DBD. Rev-erb context, resulted in cytoplasmic proteins. In contrast, the reverse mutation of the GFP/DBD. RORalpha towards the Rev-erbalpha residues targeted the fusion protein to the nucleus. Our data demonstrate that Rev-erb proteins contain a functional NLS in the DBD. Its location is unusual within the nuclear receptor superfamily and suggests that Rev-erb orphan receptors control their intracellular localization via a mechanism different from that of other nuclear receptors.