Steroid receptor-associated immunophilins: influence of targeted knockdown and altered expression on receptor signalling

Carmel Cluning

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated abstract] Steroid receptors belong to the superfamily of nuclear receptors, and include the androgen receptor (AR), estrogen receptors (ER[alpha] and ER[beta], glucocorticoid receptor (GR), mineralocorticoid receptor (MR), and the progesterone receptors (PRA and PRB). Before binding ligand, the receptor undergoes biochemical and structural modifications through a series of interactions with molecular chaperones and cochaperones all within a receptor heterocomplex. The mature receptor complexes with the major chaperone Hsp90, the stabilising cochaperone p23, and one member of a group of cochaperones termed immunophilins. Steroid receptor-associated immunophilins include the cyclophilin, CyP40, two FK506-binding proteins, FKBP51 and FKBP52, and the protein phosphatase, PP5. Immunophilins are characterised by the presence of TPR domains which compete directly for the TPR-acceptor site within Hsp90. This leads to mutually exclusive, immunophilin-containing receptor complexes. While PP5 contains a C-terminal phosphatase domain, CyP40, FKBP51 and FKBP52 each contain an N-terminal peptidyl prolyl isomerase (PPIase) domain, which catalyses the cis/trans isomerisation of prolyl peptide bonds. FKBP52 has been demonstrated to potentiate the ligand-dependent activity of AR, GR and PR, but not ER[alpha]. Knowing that CyP40 is the preferred immunophilin associated with the ER[alpha] heterocomplex, it was hypothesised that this immunophilin plays a role in ER[alpha] function. ... As all mutants maintained this potentiating activity it was concluded that the five altered residues found within gpGR do not contribute to the altered interaction of FKBP52 and receptor. However, it cannot be discounted that FKBP51 is more competitive for gpGR. Immunophilins are hormonally regulated, with FKBP52 found to be essential for female fertility in mice. It was hypothesised that levels of immunophilins, associated with steroid receptors important in the menstrual cycle, would be regulated to reflect hormonal activity within cycling endometrium. Human pre-menopausal endometrial sections taken from different phases of the menstrual cycle were examined immunohistochemically for expression of CyP40, FKBP51, FKBP51 and PP5. Immunophilin levels peaked at the mid-secretory phase correlating with stromal decidualization, a process essential for eventual blastocyst implantation. The importance of immunophilins to steroid receptor action was therefore reinforced by the observation that immunophilins appear to be hormonally regulated in cycling pre-menopausal human endometrium. Further studies into the effects of immunophilin loss and knockdown on steroid receptor-mediated responses in specific mouse tissues, knockout-derived mouse embryo fibroblasts and cancer cell lines may contribute to our understanding of the receptor-selective and tissue-specific actions of the immunophilins. Elucidation of the mechanisms through which they modulate receptor function may provide opportunities for therapeutic intervention in steroid-related disease.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2008


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