Although the retinoic X receptor (RXR) forms heterodimers with many members of the estrogen receptor subfamily, the interaction between RXR and the members of the glucocorticoid receptor sub-family remains unclear. Here we show that the RXR can form a heterodimer with the androgen receptor (AR) under in vitro and in vivo conditions. Functional analyses further demonstrated that the AR, in the presence or absence of androgen, can function as a repressor to suppress RXR target genes, thereby preventing the RXR binding to the RXR DNA response element. In contrast, RXR can function as a repressor to suppress AR target genes in the presence of 9-cis-retinoic acid, but unliganded RXR can function as a weak coactivator to moderately enhance AR transactivation. Together, these results not only reveal a unique interaction between members of the two nuclear receptor subfamilies, but also represent the first evidence showing a nuclear receptor (RXR) may function as either a repressor or a coactivator based on the ligand binding status.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism