Analysis of the hormone-binding domain of steroid receptors using chimeras generated by homologous recombination

Elisabeth D. Martinez, Nagarajan Pattabiraman, Mark Danielsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The glucocorticoid receptor and the mineralocorticoid receptor are members of the steroid receptor family that exhibit ligand cross-reactivity. Specificity of steroid receptor action is investigated in the present work by the construction and characterization of chimeras between the glucocorticoid receptor and the mineralocorticoid receptor. We used an innovative approach to make novel steroid receptor proteins in vivo that in general, contrary to our expectations, show increased ligand specificity compared to the parental receptors. We describe a receptor that is specific for the potent synthetic glucocorticoid triamcinolone acetonide and does not bind aldosterone. A further set of chimeras has an increased ability to discriminate between ligands, responding potently to mineralocorticoids and only very weakly to synthetic glucocorticoids. A chimera with the fusion site in the hinge highlights the importance of the region between the DNA-binding and the hormone-binding domains since, unlike both the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptors, it only responds to mineralocorticoids. One chimera has reduced specificity in that it acts as a general corticoid receptor, responding to glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids with similar potency and efficacy. Our data suggest that regions of the glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid receptor hormone-binding domains are functionally non-reciprocal. We present transcriptional, hormone-binding, and structure-modeling evidence that suggests that receptor-specific interactions within and across domains mediate aspects of specificity in transcriptional responses to steroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)320-333
Number of pages14
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2005


  • Chimera
  • Hormone-binding domain
  • Steroid receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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