- Publication date : 2019-12-01
Mehanovic S, Mendoza-Villarroel RE, Viger RS, Tremblay JJ. The Nuclear Receptor COUP-TFII Regulates Amhr2 Gene Transcription via a GC-Rich Promoter Element in Mouse Leydig Cells. J Endocr Soc. 2019 Oct 1;3(12):2236-2257. doi: 10.1210/js.2019-00266. eCollection 2019 Dec 1.
The nuclear receptor chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor type II (COUP-TFII)/NR2F2 is expressed in adult Leydig cells, and conditional deletion of the Coup-tfii/Nr2f2 gene impedes their differentiation. Steroid production is also reduced in COUP-TFII-depleted Leydig cells, supporting an additional role in steroidogenesis for this transcription factor. COUP-TFII action in Leydig cells remains to be fully characterized. In the present work, we report that COUP-TFII is an essential regulator of the gene encoding the anti-Müllerian hormone receptor type 2 (Amhr2), which participates in Leydig cell differentiation and steroidogenesis. We found that Amhr2 mRNA levels are reduced in COUP-TFII-depleted MA-10 Leydig cells. Consistent with this, COUP-TFII directly activates a -1486 bp fragment of the mouse Amhr2 promoter in transient transfection assays. The COUP-TFII responsive region was localized between -67 and -34 bp. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay confirmed COUP-TFII recruitment to the proximal Amhr2 promoter whereas DNA precipitation assay revealed that COUP-TFII associates with the -67/-34 bp region in vitro. Even though the -67/-34 bp region contains an imperfect nuclear receptor element, COUP-TFII-mediated activation of the Amhr2 promoter requires a GC-rich sequence at -39 bp known to bind the specificity protein (SP)1 transcription factor. COUP-TFII transcriptionally cooperates with SP1 on the Amhr2 promoter. Mutations that altered the GCGGGGCGG sequence at -39 bp abolished COUP-TFII-mediated activation, COUP-TFII/SP1 cooperation, and reduced COUP-TFII binding to the proximal Amhr2 promoter. Our data provide a better understanding of the mechanism of COUP-TFII action in Leydig cells through the identification and regulation of the Amhr2 promoter as a novel target.