Analysis of multiple nuclear receptor binding sites for CAR/RXR in the phenobarbital responsive unit of CYP2B2

Quanyuan Zhang, Yangjin Bae, Jongsook Kim Kemper, Byron Kemper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The phenobarbital (PB) responsive enhancers in CYP2B genes contain a core of two direct repeat-4 nuclear receptor binding sites, NR-1 and NR-2, which flank an NF-1 site and appear to be most important for PB responsiveness. Additional sequences outside the core are required for maximal PB responsiveness, including a third direct repeat-4 site, NR-3. The PB response is mediated by constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) which binds as a CAR/RXR heterodimer to the NR sites. To determine the relative importance of the third NR site, each of the NR sites was mutated individually and in all combinations in the rat PB responsive unit (PBRU). Mutation of NR-3 resulted in similar effects on transactivation of the PBRU by CAR in HepG2 cells as did mutations of NR-1 and NR-2. The recruitment of GRIP1/SRC-2 by CAR/RXR to the PBRU assessed by gel shift assays was cooperatively enhanced if more than one NR site in the PBRU was occupied by CAR/RXR. NR-3 in combination with NR-1 or NR-2 was equal to NR-1 and NR-2 in mediating this cooperative recruitment. Recruitment of SRC-1 and GRIP1/SRC-2 was similar for all NR sites, while some selectivity of NR-1 for SRC-3 was observed. SRC-3 also exhibited CAR-independent activation of the PBRU in HepG2 cells. Micrococcal nuclease mapping of nucleosomes revealed that the NR-1/NR-2 core of the PBRU is present in a nucleosome while NR-3 is present in the linker adjacent to the nucleosome. In the linear sequence NR-3 is further from NR-1 than NR-2 is, but in a nucleosomal structure, NR-3 is well positioned for cooperative recruitment of GRIP1/SRC-2 by CAR/RXR that is bound to NR-3 and either NR-1 or NR-2, while NR-1 and NR-2 are on opposite sides of the nucleosome separated by the histone core. These results demonstrate that NR-3 is functionally similar to NR-1 and NR-2 in CAR transactivation of the PBRU in vitro and suggest that NR-3 may have a greater role in a chromatin context in vivo than is apparent from transient transfection studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-127
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 15 2006


  • Constitutive androstane receptor
  • Cytochrome P450
  • Nuclear receptor binding sites
  • Nucleosomes
  • Phenobarbital
  • p160 coactivators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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