Evolution of the pregnane x receptor: adaptation to cross-species differences in biliary bile salts.
ABSTRACT: The pregnane X receptor (PXR) regulates the metabolism and elimination of bile salts, steroids, and xenobiotics. The sequence of the PXR ligand-binding domain diverges extensively between different animals, suggesting interspecies differences in ligands. Of the endogenous ligands known to activate PXR, biliary bile salts vary the most across vertebrate species, ranging from 27-carbon (C27) bile alcohol sulfates (early fish, amphibians) to C24 bile acids (birds, mammals). Using a luciferase-based reporter assay, human PXR was activated by a wide variety of bile salts. In contrast, zebrafish PXR was activated efficiently only by cyprinol sulfate, the major zebrafish bile salt, but not by recent bile acids. Chicken, mouse, rat, and rabbit PXRs were all activated by species-specific bile acids and by early fish bile alcohol sulfates. In addition, phylogenetic analysis using maximum likelihood demonstrated evidence for nonneutral evolution of the PXR ligand-binding domain. PXR activation by bile salts has expanded from narrow specificity for C27 bile alcohol sulfates (early fish) to a broader specificity for recent bile acids (birds, mammals). PXR specificity for bile salts has thus paralleled the increasing complexity of the bile salt synthetic pathway during vertebrate evolution, an unusual example of ligand-receptor coevolution in the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily.
Project description:The farnesoid X receptor (FXR), pregnane X receptor (PXR), and vitamin D receptor (VDR) are three closely related nuclear hormone receptors in the NR1H and 1I subfamilies that share the property of being activated by bile salts. Bile salts vary significantly in structure across vertebrate species, suggesting that receptors binding these molecules may show adaptive evolutionary changes in response. We have previously shown that FXRs from the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) are activated by planar bile alcohols found in these two species. In this report, we characterize FXR, PXR, and VDR from the green-spotted pufferfish (Tetraodon nigriviridis), an actinopterygian fish that unlike the zebrafish has a bile salt profile similar to humans. We utilize homology modelling, docking, and pharmacophore studies to understand the structural features of the Tetraodon receptors.Tetraodon FXR has a ligand selectivity profile very similar to human FXR, with strong activation by the synthetic ligand GW4064 and by the primary bile acid chenodeoxycholic acid. Homology modelling and docking studies suggest a ligand-binding pocket architecture more similar to human and rat FXRs than to lamprey or zebrafish FXRs. Tetraodon PXR was activated by a variety of bile acids and steroids, although not by the larger synthetic ligands that activate human PXR such as rifampicin. Homology modelling predicts a larger ligand-binding cavity than zebrafish PXR. We also demonstrate that VDRs from the pufferfish and Japanese medaka were activated by small secondary bile acids such as lithocholic acid, whereas the African clawed frog VDR was not.Our studies provide further evidence of the relationship between both FXR, PXR, and VDR ligand selectivity and cross-species variation in bile salt profiles. Zebrafish and green-spotted pufferfish provide a clear contrast in having markedly different primary bile salt profiles (planar bile alcohols for zebrafish and sterically bent bile acids for the pufferfish) and receptor selectivity that matches these differences in endogenous ligands. Our observations to date present an integrated picture of the co-evolution of bile salt structure and changes in the binding pockets of three nuclear hormone receptors across the species studied.
Project description:The fish olfactory receptor ORA family is orthologous to the mammalian vomeronasal receptors type 1. It consists of six highly conserved chemosensory receptors expected to be essential for survival and communication. We deorphanized the zebrafish ORA family in a heterologous cell system. The six receptors responded specifically to lithocholic acid (LCA) and closely related C24 5?-bile acids/salts. LCA attracted zebrafish as strongly as food in behavioral tests, whereas the less potent cholanic acid elicited weaker attraction, consistent with the in vitro results. The ORA-ligand recognition patterns were probed with site-directed mutagenesis guided by in silico modeling. We revealed the receptors' structure-function relationship underlying their specificity and selectivity for these compounds. Bile acids/salts are putative fish semiochemicals or pheromones sensed by the olfactory system with high specificity. This work identified their receptors and provided the basis for probing the roles of ORAs and bile acids/salts in fish chemosensation.
Project description:1. Bile salts of the coelacanth Latimeria chalumnae Smith (five specimens) and of the three living genera of lungfish (Dipnoi) were examined as completely as possible and compared. 2. The small 'bile acid' fractions include no more than traces of well-known C27 or C24 acids (free or conjugated) and the functioning bile salts must be regarded as alcohol sulphates. 3. Comparison of the alcohols suggest that (a) Latimeria stands biochemically outside the animal group which includes the Dipnoi, (b) Protopterus and Lepidosiren are more closely related to one another than either is to Neoceratodus, (c) all four primitive osteiychtheans have some amphibian affinities, (d) there are affinities between Latimeria and Dipnoi and ostariophysan families (especially Cyprinidae and Catostomidae) and (e) there are biochemical links between Dipnoi and lampreys.
Project description:1. Bile salts of the green turtle Chelonia mydas (L.) were analysed as completely as possible. 2. They consist of taurine conjugates of 3 alpha, 7 alpha, 12 alpha, 22 xi-tetrahydroxy-5 beta-cholestan-26-oic acid (tetrahydroxysterocholanic acid) and 3 alpha 12 alpha, 22 xi-trihydroxy-5 beta-cholestan-26-oic acid, with minor amounts of 3 alpha, 7 alpha, 12 alpha-trihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid (cholic acid), 3alpha, 12 alpha-dihydroxy-5beta-cholan-24-oic acid (deoxycholic acid) and possibly other bile acids. 3. Cholic acid and deoxycholic acid represent the first known examples of bile acids common to chelonians and other animal forms: they may indicate independent evolution in chelonians to C24 bile acids. 4. The discovery of a 7-deoxy C27 bile acid is the first evidence that C27 bile acids or their conjugates have an enterohepatic circulation.
Project description:Bile salt synthesis is a specialized liver function in vertebrates. Bile salts play diverse roles in digestion and signaling, and their homeostasis is maintained by controlling input (biosynthesis) and intestinal conservation. Patients with biliary atresia (i.e., obliteration of the biliary tree) suffer liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. In contrast, sea lamprey thrives despite developmental biliary atresia. We discovered that the sea lamprey adapts to biliary atresia through a unique mechanism of de novo synthesis and secretion of bile salts in intestine after developmental biliary atresia, in addition to known mechanisms, such as the reduction of bile salt synthesis in liver. During and after developmental biliary atresia, expression of cyp7a1 in intestine increased by more than 100-fold (P < 0.001), whereas in liver it decreased by the same magnitude (P < 0.001). Concurrently, bile salt pools changed in similar patterns and magnitudes in these two organs and the composition shifted from C24 bile alcohol sulfates to taurine-conjugated C24 bile acids. In addition, both in vivo and ex vivo experiments showed that aductular sea lamprey secreted taurocholic acid into its intestinal lumen. Our results indicate that the sea lamprey, a jawless vertebrate, may be in an evolutionarily transitional state where bile salt synthesis occurs in both liver and intestine. Understanding the molecular basis of these mechanisms may shed light on the evolution of bile salt synthesis and possible therapy for infant biliary atresia.
Project description:Cholesterol gallstone disease (CGD) results from a biochemical imbalance of lipids and bile salts in the gallbladder bile. We investigated whether the xenobiotic receptor pregnane X receptor (PXR) has a role in pathogenesis of CGD.Wild-type, PXR-null (PXR-/-), and CGD-sensitive C57L mice were placed on a lithogenic diet and then analyzed for CGD at the biochemical, histological, and gene-regulation levels.Loss of PXR sensitized mice to lithogenic diet-induced CGD, characterized by decreases in biliary concentrations of bile salts and phospholipids and an increases in the cholesterol saturation index and formation of cholesterol crystals. The decreased bile acid pool size in PXR-/- mice that received lithogenic diets was associated with reduced expression of cholesterol 7?-hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme of cholesterol catabolism and bile acid formation. The reduced expression of cholesterol 7?-hydroxylase most likely resulted from activation of farnesoid X receptor and induction of fibroblast growth factor 15 in the intestine. In C57L mice given the PXR agonist, pregnenolone-16?-carbonitrile, or the herbal medicine, St John's wort, cholesterol precipitation was prevented by increases in concentrations of biliary bile salt and a reduced cholesterol saturation index. PXR prevented CGD via its coordinate regulation of the biosynthesis and transport of bile salts in the liver and intestine.PXR maintains biliary bile acid homeostasis and may be developed as a therapeutic target for CGD.
Project description:Bile salts, the major end metabolites of cholesterol, vary significantly in structure across vertebrate species, suggesting that nuclear receptors binding these molecules may show adaptive evolutionary changes. We compared across species the bile salt specificity of the major transcriptional regulator of bile salt synthesis, the farnesoid X receptor (FXR). We found that FXRs have changed specificity for primary bile salts across species by altering the shape and size of the ligand binding pocket. In particular, the ligand binding pockets of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) and zebrafish (Danio rerio) FXRs, as predicted by homology models, are flat and ideal for binding planar, evolutionarily early bile alcohols. In contrast, human FXR has a curved binding pocket best suited for the bent steroid ring configuration typical of evolutionarily more recent bile acids. We also found that the putative FXR from the sea squirt Ciona intestinalis, a chordate invertebrate, was completely insensitive to activation by bile salts but was activated by sulfated pregnane steroids, suggesting that the endogenous ligands of this receptor may be steroidal in nature. Our observations present an integrated picture of the coevolution of bile salt structure and of the binding pocket of their target nuclear receptor FXR.
Project description:The NR1I subfamily of nuclear hormone receptors includes the 1,25-(OH)(2)-vitamin D(3) receptor (VDR; NR1I1), pregnane X receptor (PXR; NR1I2), and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR; NR1I3). PXR and VDR are found in diverse vertebrates from fish to mammals while CAR is restricted to mammals. Current evidence suggests that the CAR gene arose from a duplication of an ancestral PXR gene, and that PXR and VDR arose from duplication of an ancestral gene, represented now by a single gene in the invertebrate Ciona intestinalis. Aside from the high-affinity effects of 1,25-(OH)(2)-vitamin D(3) on VDRs, the NR1I subfamily members are functionally united by the ability to bind potentially toxic endogenous compounds with low affinity and initiate changes in gene expression that lead to enhanced metabolism and elimination (e.g., induction of cytochrome P450 3A4 expression in humans). The detoxification role of VDR seems limited to sensing high concentrations of certain toxic bile salts, such as lithocholic acid, whereas PXR and CAR have the ability to recognize structurally diverse compounds. PXR and CAR show the highest degree of cross-species variation in the ligand-binding domain of the entire vertebrate nuclear hormone receptor superfamily, suggesting adaptation to species-specific ligands. This review examines the insights that phylogenetic and experimental studies provide into the function of VDR, PXR, and CAR, and how the functions of these receptors have expanded to evolutionary advantage in humans and other animals.
Project description:Biliary bile salt composition of 677 vertebrate species (103 fish, 130 reptiles, 271 birds, 173 mammals) was determined. Bile salts were of three types: C(27) bile alcohols, C(27) bile acids, or C(24) bile acids, with default hydroxylation at C-3 and C-7. C(27) bile alcohols dominated in early evolving fish and amphibians; C(27) bile acids, in reptiles and early evolving birds. C(24) bile acids were present in all vertebrate classes, often with C(27) alcohols or with C(27) acids, indicating two evolutionary pathways from C(27) bile alcohols to C(24) bile acids: a) a 'direct' pathway and b) an 'indirect' pathway with C(27) bile acids as intermediates. Hydroxylation at C-12 occurred in all orders and at C-16 in snakes and birds. Minor hydroxylation sites were C-1, C-2, C-5, C-6, and C-15. Side chain hydroxylation in C(27) bile salts occurred at C-22, C-24, C-25, and C-26, and in C(24) bile acids, at C-23 (snakes, birds, and pinnipeds). Unexpected was the presence of C(27) bile alcohols in four early evolving mammals. Bile salt composition showed significant variation between orders but not between families, genera, or species. Bile salt composition is a biochemical trait providing clues to evolutionary relationships, complementing anatomical and genetic analyses.
Project description:Enzyme-assisted derivatization for sterol analysis (EADSA) is a technology designed to enhance sensitivity and specificity for sterol analysis using electrospray ionization⁻mass spectrometry. To date it has only been exploited on sterols with a 3β-hydroxy-5-ene or 3β-hydroxy-5α-hydrogen structure, using bacterial cholesterol oxidase enzyme to convert the 3β-hydroxy group to a 3-oxo group for subsequent derivatization with the positively charged Girard hydrazine reagents, or on substrates with a native oxo group. Here we describe an extension of the technology by substituting 3α-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3α-HSD) for cholesterol oxidase, making the method applicable to sterols with a 3α-hydroxy-5β-hydrogen structure. The 3α-HSD enzyme works efficiently on bile alcohols and bile acids with this stereochemistry. However, as found by others, derivatization of the resultant 3-oxo group with a hydrazine reagent does not go to completion in the absence of a conjugating double bond in the sterol structure. Nevertheless, Girard P derivatives of bile alcohols and C27 acids give an intense molecular ion ([M]⁺) upon electrospray ionization and informative fragmentation spectra. The method shows promise for analysis of bile alcohols and 3α-hydroxy-5β-C27-acids, enhancing the range of sterols that can be analyzed at high sensitivity in sterolomic studies.