Suppression of relaxin gene expression by retinoids in squamous differentiated rabbit tracheal epithelial cells

Academic Article


  • Northern blot analysis of total RNA from a variety of rabbit tissues indicated that placenta is the primary site of expression of the protein hormone relaxin (previously called SQ10) in rabbits. Relaxin was not detected by this method in other rabbit tissues, including normal trachea and several squamous tissues. However, relaxin is highly induced during squamous cell differentiation in cultured rabbit tracheal epithelial (RbTE) cells. Retinoic acid and retinoids that selectively bind to the nuclear retinoid receptors, the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) and the retinoid X receptors (RXRs), and induce RARE- or RXRE-dependent transactivation as well as repression of AP-1-dependent transactivation, were all effective in suppressing relaxin expression. In addition, the retinoid SR11302, which exhibits only anti-AP-1 activity but does not induce RARE- or RXRE-dependent transactivation, was also able to inhibit relaxin expression. These results suggest that the suppression of relaxin expression is related to the anti-AP-1 activity of retinoids. To determine whether the relaxin gene is regulated by retinoids at the level of transcription, a 4.3 kb fragment of the 5' flanking region of the rabbit relaxin gene was cloned and analyzed. This regulatory region included a classic TATA-box as well as consensus sequences for several transcription factors, including CREB, NF-κB and AP-1. The ability of the 4.3 kb regulatory region to control the transcription of a luciferase reporter gene was analyzed in transiently transfected, squamous-differentiated RbTE cells. The results demonstrated that this regulatory region caused strong transactivation of the reporter gene. This transactivation was inhibited by retinoic acid, suggesting retinoid control at the transcriptional level. Deletion analysis indicated that multiple regulatory elements are involved in the regulation of relaxin gene expression during squamous differentiation as well as in the suppression by retinoids.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Bernacki SH; Medvedev A; Holloway G; Dawson M; Lotan R; Jetten AM
  • Start Page

  • 115
  • End Page

  • 125
  • Volume

  • 138
  • Issue

  • 1-2