A novel orphan receptor specific for a subset of thyroid hormone-responsive elements and its interaction with the retinoid/thyroid hormone receptor subfamily.
The steroid/hormone nuclear receptor superfamily comprises several subfamilies of receptors that interact with overlapping DNA sequences and/or related ligands. The thyroid/retinoid hormone receptor subfamily has recently attracted much interest because of the complex network of its receptor interactions. The retinoid X receptors (RXRs), for instance, play a very central role in this subfamily, forming heterodimers with several receptors. Here we describe a novel member of this subfamily that interacts with RXR. Using a v-erbA probe, we obtained a cDNA which encodes a novel 445-amino-acid protein, RLD-1, that contains the characteristic domains of nuclear receptors. Northern (RNA) blot analysis showed that in mature rats, the receptor is highly expressed in spleen, pituitary, lung, liver, and fat. In addition, weaker expression is observed in several other tissues. Amino acid sequence alignment and DNA-binding data revealed that the DNA-binding domain of the new receptor is related to that of the thyroid/retinoid subgroup of nuclear receptors. RLD-1 preferentially binds as a heterodimer with RXR to a direct repeat of the half-site sequence 5'-G/AGGTCA-3', separated by four nucleotides (DR-4). Surprisingly, this binding is dependent to a high degree on the nature of the spacing nucleotides. None of the known nuclear receptor ligands activated RLD-1. In contrast, a DR-4-dependent constitutive transcriptional activation of a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene by the RLD-1/RXR alpha heterodimer was observed. Our data suggest a highly specific role for this novel receptor within the network of gene regulation by the thyroid/retinoid receptor subfamily.