Steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) is a member of the NR5A subfamily of nuclear hormone receptors and is considered a master regulator of reproduction because it regulates a number of genes encoding reproductive hormones and enzymes involved in steroid hormone biosynthesis. Like other NR5A members, SF1 harbors a highly conserved approximately 30-residue segment called the FTZ-F1 box C-terminal to the core DNA binding domain (DBD) common to all nuclear receptors and binds to 9-bp DNA sequences as a monomer. Here we describe the solution structure of the SF1 DBD in complex with an atypical sequence in the proximal promoter region of the inhibin-α gene that encodes a subunit of a reproductive hormone. SF1 forms a specific complex with the DNA through a bipartite motif binding to the major and minor grooves through the core DBD and the N-terminal segment of the FTZ-F1 box, respectively, in a manner previously described for two other monomeric receptors, nerve growth factor-induced-B and estrogen-related receptor 2. However, unlike these receptors, SF1 harbors a helix in the C-terminal segment of the FTZ-F1 box that interacts with both the core DBD and DNA and serves as an important determinant of stability of the complex. We propose that the FTZ-F1 helix along with the core DBD serves as a platform for interactions with coactivators and other DNA-bound factors in the vicinity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology