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Publication Title

Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics


The pregnane X receptor (PXR), or nuclear receptor (NR) 1I2, is a ligand-activated NR superfamily member that is enriched in liver and intestine in mammals. Activation of PXR regulates the expression of genes encoding key proteins involved in drug metabolism, drug efflux, and drug transport. Recent mechanistic investigations reveal that post-translational modifications (PTMs), such as phosphorylation, play a critical role in modulating the bimodal function of PXR-mediated transrepression and transactivation of target gene transcription. Upon ligand binding, PXR undergoes a conformational change that promotes dissociation of histone deacetylase-containing multiprotein corepressor protein complexes while simultaneously favoring recruitment histone acetyl transferase-containing complexes. Here we describe a novel adenoviral vector used to deliver and recover recombinant human PXR protein from primary cultures of hepatocytes. Using liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry we report here that PXR is phosphorylated at amino acid residues threonine 135 (T135) and serine 221 (S221). Biochemical analysis reveals that these two residues play an important regulatory role in the cycling of corepressor and coactivator multiprotein complexes. These data further our foundational knowledge regarding the specific role of PTMs, namely phosphorylation, in regulating the biology of PXR. Future efforts are focused on using the novel tools described here to identify additional PTMs and protein partners of PXR in primary cultures of hepatocytes, an important experimental model system.


Pregnane X receptor (PXR), or nuclear receptor 1I2, is a key master regulator of drug-inducible CYP gene expression in liver and intestine in mammals. The novel biochemical tools described in this study demonstrate for the first time that in cultures of primary hepatocytes, human PXR is phosphorylated at amino acid residues threonine 135 (T135) and serine 221 (S221). Moreover, phosphorylation of PXR promotes the transrepression of its prototypical target gene CYP3A4 through modulating its interactions with coregulatory proteins.



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Tumor cell line, cultured cells, metabolism, mice, phosphorylation, pregnane x receptor, post-translational protein processing