Mice deficient in the orphan receptor steroidogenic factor 1 lack adrenal glands and gonads but express P450 side-chain-cleavage enzyme in the placenta and have normal embryonic serum levels of corticosteroids

Y. Sadovsky, P. A. Crawford, K. G. Woodson, J. A. Polish, M. A. Clements, L. M. Tourtellotte, K. Simburger, J. Milbrandt

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Abstract

The orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is expressed in the adrenal cortex and gonads and regulates the expression of several P450 steroid hydroxylases in vitro. We examined the role of SF-1 in the adrenal glands and gonads in vivo by a targeted disruption of the mouse SF-1 gene. All SF-1-deficient mice died shortly after delivery. Their adrenal glands and gonads were absent, and persistent Mullerian structures were found in all genotypic males. While serum levels of corticosterone in SF-1-deficient mice were diminished, levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) were elevated, consistent with intact pituitary corticotrophs. Intrauterine survival of SF- 1-deficient mice appeared normal, and they had normal serum level of corticosterone and ACTH, probably reflecting transplacental passage of maternal steroids. We tested whether SF-1 is required for P450 side-chain- cleavage enzyme (P450scc) expression in the placenta, which expresses both SF-1 and P450scc, and found that in contrast to its strong activation of the P450scc gene promoter in vitro, the absence of SF-1 had no effect on P450scc mRNA levels in vivo. Although the region targeted by our disruption is shared by SF-1 and by embryonal long terminal repeat-binding protein (ELP), a hypothesized alternatively spliced product, we believe that the observed phenotype reflects absent SF-1 alone, as PCR analysis failed to detect ELP transcripts in any mouse tissue, and sequences corresponding to ELP are not conserved across species. These results confirm that SF-1 is an important regulator of adrenal and gonadal development, but its regulation of steroid hydroxylase expression in vivo remains to be established.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10939-10943
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume92
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 6 1995

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