Transcriptional Regulation of the Oxytocin Receptor Gene
Oxytocin receptors (OTR) are abundantly expressed in the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) in the rat brain. While expression of these receptors is estrogen-dependent, OTRs present in the central nucleus of the amygdala do not appear to be. We have isolated an OTR gene from a rat genomic library and analyzed its promoter region for response elements. Several regulatory elements of interest were identified, including a cAMP response element (CRE), a serum response element (SRE), several activator protein-1 elements (AP-1) in addition to a palindromic estrogen response element (ERE). In transfection assays, PKC and PKA activation by phorbol ester and forskolin treatment optimally enhanced transcription of the OTR gene. These results were further confirmed by Western blot analyses showing induction of endogenous OTRs in MCF7 cells with similar treatments.
KeywordsEstrogen DMSO Cortisol Testosterone Dexamethasone
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