Glucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) are believed to classically bind DNA as homodimers or MR-GR heterodimers to influence gene regulation in response to pulsatile basal or stress-evoked glucocorticoid secretion. Pulsed corticosterone presentation reveals MR and GR co-occupy DNA only at the peaks of glucocorticoid oscillations, allowing interaction. GR DNA occupancy was pulsatile, while MR DNA occupancy was prolonged through the inter-pulse interval. In mouse mammary 3617 cells MR-GR interacted in the nucleus and at a chromatin-associated DNA binding site. Interactions occurred irrespective of ligand type and receptors formed complexes of higher order than heterodimers. We also detected MR-GR interactions ex-vivo in rat hippocampus. An expanded range of MR-GR interactions predicts structural allostery allowing a variety of transcriptional outcomes and is applicable to the multiple tissue types that co-express both receptors in the same cells whether activated by the same or different hormones.
Pooley, J., Rivers, C. A., Kilcooley, M., Paul, S. N., Cavga, A. D., Kershaw, Y. M., Muratcioglu, S., Gursoy, A., Keskin, O., & Lightman, S. L. (2020). Beyond the heterodimer model for mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptor interactions in nuclei and at DNA. PLoS ONE, 15(1), [e0227520]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227520