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      SF1 in the Development of the Adrenal Gland and Gonads

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          SF1 (steroidogenic factor-1; NR5A1) is an orphan nuclear receptor that is expressed in the adrenal gland, gonads, spleen, ventromedial hypothalamus and pituitary gonadotroph cells. Combined approaches of targeted mutagenesis in mice and examination of the effects of naturally occurring mutations in humans have clarified the role of SF1 in steroidogenesis and development. Targeted disruption of Sf1 ( Ftzf1) in mice prevents gonadal and adrenal development and causes male-to-female sex reversal. A heterozygous loss-of-function human SF1 mutation (G35E) was described in a patient with adrenal failure and complete 46,XY sex reversal, indicating that haploinsufficiency of this transcription factor is sufficient to cause a severe clinical phenotype. In an infant with a similar clinical phenotype, a homozygous SF1 mutation (R92Q) was identified. In functional assays, this mutant SF1 protein exhibited partial loss of DNA binding and transcriptional activity when compared with the more severe G35E P-box mutant. These patients reveal the exquisite sensitivity of SF1-dependent developmental pathways to gene dosage and function in humans.

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          Most cited references 13

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          Nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 regulates the müllerian inhibiting substance gene: a link to the sex determination cascade.

           K. Parker,  Y Ikeda,  Hui Shen (1994)
          Normal male sex differentiation requires that Sertoli cells in the embryonic testes produce müllerian inhibiting substance (MIS), a TGF beta-like hormone that causes müllerian duct regression. In primary Sertoli cells, the orphan nuclear receptor, steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1), regulates the MIS gene by binding to a conserved upstream regulatory element. In heterologous (HeLa) cells, MIS gene activation by SF-1 requires removal of the SF-1 ligand-binding domain, implicating a Sertoli cell-specific ligand or cofactor. Finally, the sexually dimorphic expression of SF-1 during development coincides with MIS expression and müllerian duct regression. We propose that SF-1 regulates MIS in vivo and participates directly in the process of mammalian sex determination.
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            Role of guanylyl cyclase and cGMP-dependent protein kinase in long-term potentiation.

             E Kandel,  M Zhuo,  Yali Hu (1994)
            Several lines of evidence suggest that cyclic GMP might be involved in long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. Arachidonic acid, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide, three molecules that have been proposed to act as retrograde messengers in LTP, all activate soluble guanylyl cyclase. We report here that an inhibitor of guanylyl cyclase blocks the induction of LTP in the CA1 region of hippocampal slices. Conversely, cGMP analogues produce long-lasting enhancement of the excitatory postsynaptic potential if they are applied at the same time as weak tetanic stimulation of the presynaptic fibres. The enhancement is spatially restricted, is not blocked by valeric acid (APV), nifedipine, or picrotoxin, and partially occludes LTP. This synaptic enhancement may be mediated by the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG). Inhibitors of PKG block the induction of LTP, and activators of PKG produce activity-dependent long-lasting enhancement. These results suggest that guanylyl cyclase and PKG contribute to LTP, possibly as activity-dependent presynaptic effectors of retrograde messengers.
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              Apparently normal ovarian differentiation in a prepubertal girl with transcriptionally inactive steroidogenic factor 1 (NR5A1/SF-1) and adrenocortical insufficiency.

              Steroidogenic factor 1 (NR5A1/SF-1) plays an essential role in the development of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal and hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axes, controlling expression of their many important genes. The recent description of a 46,XY patient bearing a mutation in the NR5A1 gene, causing male pseudohermaphroditism and adrenal failure, demonstrated the crucial role of SF-1 in male gonadal differentiation. The role of SF-1 in human ovarian development was, until now, unknown. We describe a phenotypically and genotypically normal girl, with signs and symptoms of adrenal insufficiency and no apparent defect in ovarian maturation, bearing a heterozygote G-->T transversion in exon 4 of the NR5A1 gene that leads to the missense R255L in the SF-1 protein. The exchange does not interfere with protein translation and stability. Consistent with the clinical picture, R255L is transcriptionally inactive and has no dominant-negative activity. The inability of the mutant (MUT) NR5A1/SF-1 to bind canonical DNA sequences might offer a possible explanation for the failure of the mutant protein to transactivate target genes. This is the first report of a mutation in the NR5A1 gene in a genotypically female patient, and it suggests that NR5A1/SF-1 is not necessary for female gonadal development, confirming the crucial role of NR5A1/SF-1 in adrenal gland formation in both sexes.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                January 2003
                17 November 2004
                : 59
                : Suppl 1
                : 94-98
                aDivision of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine, Northwestern University, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Ill., USA; and bCentre for Human Growth and Maturation, Department of Medicine and Institute of Child Health, University College London, London, UK
                67831 Horm Res 2003;59(suppl 1):94–98
                © 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 47, Pages: 5
                New Insights into Adrenal Pathophysiology


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