Mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) trans-activation of inflammatory AP-1 signaling: Dependence on DNA sequence, MR conformation, and AP-1 family member expression

Edward J. Dougherty, Jason M. Elinoff, Gabriela A. Ferreyra, Angela Hou, Rongman Cai, Junfeng Sun, Kevin P. Blaine, Shuibang Wang, Robert L. Danner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids are commonly used to treat inflammatory disorders. The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) can tether to inflammatory transcription factor complexes, such as NFκB and AP-1, and trans-repress the transcription of cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules. In contrast, aldosterone and the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) primarily promote cardiovascular inflammation by incompletely understood mechanisms. Although MR has been shown to weakly repress NFκB, its role in modulating AP-1 has not been established. Here, the effects of GR and MR on NκB and AP-1 signaling were directly compared using a variety of ligands, two different AP-1 consensus sequences, GR and MR DNA-binding domain mutants, and siRNA knockdown or overexpression of core AP-1 family members. Both GR and MR repressed an NFκB reporter without influencing p65 or p50 binding to DNA. Likewise, neither GR nor MR affected AP-1 binding, but repression or activation of AP-1 reporters occurred in a ligand-, AP-1 consensus sequence-, and AP-1 family member-specific manner. Notably, aldosterone interactions with both GR and MR demonstrated a potential to activate AP-1. DNA-binding domain mutations that eliminated the ability of GR and MR to cis-activate a hormone response element-driven reporter variably affected the strength and polarity of these responses. Importantly, MRmodulation of NFκB and AP-1 signaling was consistent with a trans-mechanism, and AP-1 effects were confirmed for specific gene targets in primary human cells. Steroid nuclear receptor trans-effects on inflammatory signaling are context-dependent and influenced by nuclear receptor conformation, DNA sequence, and the expression of heterologous binding partners. Aldosterone activation of AP-1 may contribute to its proinflammatory effects in the vasculature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23628-23644
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 4 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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