Retinoid receptor-induced alteration of the chromatin assembled on a ligand-responsive promoter in Xenopus oocytes

S. Minucci, J. Wong, J. C G Blanco, Y. B. Shi, A. P. Wolffe, K. Ozato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Retinoic acid (RA) stimulates transcription from the retinoic acid receptor β2 (RARβ2) promoter in mammalian embryonal cells. Evidence by in vivo deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) hypersensitivity assay indicates that RA treatment of these cells results in an alteration of chromatin structure in and near the promoter. To study the role of chromatin in RA-activated transcription, we assembled the RARβ2 promoter into chromatin in Xenopus oocytes. Ectopic expression of RAR and retinoid X receptor (RXR) enhanced transcription without ligand, irrespective of whether chromatin was assembled in a replication-dependent or -independent manner, although ligand addition led to a further, marked increase in transcription. Moreover, expression of RAR and RXR, without ligand addition, induced DNase I-hypersensitive sites in the chromatin-assembled promoter. Futhermore, expression of RAR and RXR in oocytes led to local disruption of chromatin assembled over the promoter without ligand. Similar ligand-independent, but RXR/RAR-dependent nucleosomal disruption was observed in an in vitro chromatin reconstitution system using Drosophila embryonic extracts. Thus, unliganded receptors expressed in oocytes are capable of accessing to the chromatin-assembled promoter and activating transcription without ligand, indicating that chromatin assembly per se is not sufficient to reproduce ligand-dependent chromatin changes and promoter activation seen in mammalian cells. The oocyte system may serve as a model to study mechanisms of RA-dependent alterations of chromatin structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-324
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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