The orphan nuclear receptor steroidogenic factor 1 (SF-1) is a critical developmental regulator in the urogenital ridge, because mice targeted for disruption of the SF-1 gene lack adrenal glands and gonads. SF-1 was recently shown to interact with DAX-1, another orphan receptor whose tissue distribution overlaps that of SF-1. Naturally occurring loss-of-function mutations of the DAX-1 gene cause the human disorder X-linked adrenal hypoplasia congenita (AHC), which resembles the phenotype of SF-1-deficient mice. Paradoxically, however, DAX-1 represses the transcriptional activity of SF-1, and ARC mutants of DAX-1 lose repression function. To further investigate these findings, we characterized the interaction between SF-1 and DAX-1 and found that their interaction indeed occurs through a repressive domain within the carboxy terminus of SF-1. Furthermore, we demonstrate that DAX-1 recruits the nuclear receptor corepressor N-CoR to SF-1, whereas naturally occurring AHC mutations of DAX-1 permit the SF-1-DAX-1 interaction, but markedly diminish corepressor recruitment. Finally, the interaction between DAX-1 and N-CoR shares similarities with that of the nuclear receptor RevErb and N-CoR, because the related corepressor SMRT was not efficiently recruited by DAX-1. Therefore, DAX-1 can serve as an adapter molecule that recruits nuclear receptor corepressors to DNA-bound nuclear receptors like SF-1, thereby extending the range of corepressor action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2949-2956
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1998


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