The nuclear hormone receptor family comprises a group of structurally related transcriptional regulators that mediate the actions of diverse ligands, including steroid hormones, thyroid hormone, vitamin D, and retinoids. The nuclear receptor family also contains members for which activating ligands have not been identified - the orphan nuclear receptors. One of these orphan nuclear receptors, steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), has emerged as an essential regulator of steroidogenic cell function within the adrenal cortex and gonads; SF-1 also plays important roles in reproduction at all three levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. First identified as a tissue-specific regulator of the transcription of the cytochrome P450 steroid hydroxylases, considerably broader roles for SF-1 were revealed by genetic studies in mice lacking SF-1 due to targeted gene disruption. These SF-1-knockout mice had agenesis of their adrenal glands and gonads, male-to-female sex reversal of their internal and external genitalia, impaired gonadotrope function, and agenesis of the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus. These studies delineated essential roles of SF-1 in regulating endocrine differentiation and function at multiple levels. Despite these insights into roles of SF-1, the precise mechanisms by which SF-1 exerts its multiple effects remain to be determined. This review highlights experiments that have established SF-1 as a pivotal determinant of endocrine differentiation and function and identifies areas in which additional studies are needed to expand our understanding of SF-1 action.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Recent Progress in Hormone Research|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1997|
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