Teriflunomide Is an Indirect Human Constitutive Androstane Receptor (CAR) Activator Interacting With Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) Signaling.
ABSTRACT: The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is a nuclear receptor involved mainly in xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism regulation. CAR is activated directly by its ligands via the ligand binding domain (LBD) or indirectly by inhibition of the epidermal growth factor (EGF) signaling. We found that leflunomide (LEF) and its main metabolite teriflunomide (TER), both used for autoimmune diseases treatment, induce the prototype CAR target gene CYP2B6 in primary human hepatocytes. As TER was discovered to be an EGF receptor antagonist, we sought to determine if TER is an indirect activator of CAR. In primary human hepatocytes and in differentiated HepaRG cells, we found that LEF and TER up-regulate CAR target genes CYP2B6 and CYP3A4 mRNAs and enzymatic activities. TER stimulated CAR+A mutant translocation into the nucleus but neither LEF nor TER activated the CAR LBD, CAR3 variant or pregnane X receptor (PXR) in gene reporter assays. Interestingly, TER significantly up-regulated CAR mRNA expression, a result which could be a consequence of both EGF receptor and ELK-1 transcription factor inhibition by TER or by TER-mediated activation of glucocorticoid receptor (GR), an upstream hormonal regulator of CAR. We can conclude that TER is a novel indirect CAR activator which through EGF inhibition and GR activation controls both detoxification and some intermediary metabolism genes.
Project description:The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) is the essential regulator of genes involved both in xenobiotic and endobiotic metabolism. Diazepam has been shown as a potent stimulator of CAR nuclear translocation and is assumed as an indirect CAR activator not interacting with the CAR cavity. In this study, we sought to determine if diazepam is a ligand directly interacting with the CAR ligand binding domain (LBD) and if it regulates its target genes in a therapeutically relevant concentration. We used different CAR constructs in translocation and luciferase reporter assays, recombinant CAR-LBD in a TR-FRET assay, and target genes induction studied in primary human hepatocytes (PHHs), HepaRG cells, and in CAR humanized mice. We also used in silico docking and CAR-LBD mutants to characterize the interaction of diazepam and its metabolites with the CAR cavity. Diazepam and its metabolites such as nordazepam, temazepam, and oxazepam are activators of CAR+Ala in translocation and two-hybrid assays and fit the CAR cavity in docking experiments. In gene reporter assays with CAR3 and in the TR-FRET assay, only diazepam significantly interacts with CAR-LBD. Diazepam also promotes up-regulation of CYP2B6 in PHHs and in HepaRG cells. However, in humanized CAR mice, diazepam significantly induces neither <i>CYP2B6</i> nor <i>Cyp2b10</i> genes nor does it regulate critical genes involved in glucose and lipids metabolism and liver proliferation. Thus, we demonstrate that diazepam interacts with human CAR-LBD as a weak ligand, but it does not significantly affect expression of tested CAR target genes in CAR humanized mice.
Project description:Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent environmental toxicants, present in 100% of U.S. adults and dose-dependently associated with obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). PCBs are predicted to interact with receptors previously implicated in xenobiotic/energy metabolism and NAFLD. These receptors include the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), pregnane xenobiotic receptor (PXR), constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs), liver-X-receptor (LXR?), and farnesoid-X-receptor (FXR). This study evaluates Aroclor 1260, a PCB mixture with congener composition mimicking that of human adipose tissue, and selected congeners, as potential ligands for these receptors utilizing human hepatoma-derived (HepG2) and primate-derived (COS-1) cell lines, and primary human hepatocytes. Aroclor 1260 (20 ?g/ml) activated AhR, and PCB 126, a minor component, was a potent inducer. Aroclor 1260 activated PXR in a simple concentration-dependent manner at concentrations ?10 ?g/ml. Among the congeners tested, PCBs 138, 149, 151, 174, 183, 187, and 196 activated PXR. Aroclor 1260 activated CAR2 and CAR3 variants at lower concentrations and antagonize CAR2 activation by the CAR agonist, CITCO, at higher concentrations (?20 ?g/ml). Additionally, Aroclor 1260 induced CYP2B6 in primary hepatocytes. At subtoxic doses, Aroclor 1260 did not activate LXR or FXR and had no effect on LXR- or FXR-dependent induction by the agonists T0901317 or GW4064, respectively. Aroclor 1260 (20 ?g/ml) suppressed PPAR? activation by the agonist nafenopin, although none of the congeners tested demonstrated significant inhibition. The results suggest that Aroclor 1260 is a human AhR, PXR and CAR3 agonist, a mixed agonist/antagonist for CAR2, and an antagonist for human PPAR?.
Project description:Pregnancy alters the rate and extent of drug metabolism, but little is known about the underlying molecular mechanism. We have found that 17?-estradiol (E2) upregulates expression of the major drug-metabolizing enzyme CYP2B6 in primary human hepatocytes. Results from promoter reporter assays in HepG2 cells revealed that E2 activates constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and enhances promoter activity of CYP2B6, for which high concentrations of E2 reached during pregnancy were required. E2 triggered nuclear translocation of CAR in primary rat hepatocytes that were transiently transfected with human CAR as well as in primary human hepatocytes, further confirming transactivation of CAR by E2. E2-activated estrogen receptor (ER) also enhanced CYP2B6 promoter activity. The DNA-binding domain of ER was not required for the induction of CYP2B6 promoter activity by E2, suggesting involvement of a non-classical mechanism of ER action. Results from deletion and mutation assays as well as electrophorectic mobility shift and supershift assays revealed that two AP-1 binding sites (-1782/-1776 and -1664/-1658 of CYP2B6) are critical for ER-mediated activation of the CYP2B6 promoter by E2. Concurrent activation of both ER and CAR by E2 enhanced CYP2B6 expression in a synergistic manner. Our data demonstrate that at high concentrations reached during pregnancy, E2 activates both CAR and ER that synergistically induce CYP2B6 expression. These results illustrate pharmacological activity of E2 that would likely become prominent during pregnancy.
Project description:Phthalates and other endocrine-disruptive chemicals are manufactured in large quantities for use as plasticizers and other commercial applications, resulting in ubiquitous human exposure and thus, concern regarding their toxicity. Innate defense against small molecule exposures is controlled in large part by the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and the pregnane X receptor (PXR). The human CAR gene undergoes multiple alternative splicing events resulting in the CAR2 and CAR3 variant receptors. Recent studies from our laboratory show that CAR2 is potently and specifically activated by di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). We hypothesized that alternative splicing is a mechanism for increasing CAR's functional diversity, broadening the human receptors' repertoire of response to environmental xenobiotics. In these studies, we examine the interaction of alternatively spliced CARs and PXR with a range of suspected endocrine disruptors, including phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), and 4-N-nonylphenol (NP). Transactivation and two-hybrid studies in COS-1 cells revealed differential selectivity of endocrine-disrupting chemicals for the variant CAR and PXR. Ex vivo studies showed DEHP and di-isononyl phthalate potently induced CYP2B6 and CYP3A4 expression in human hepatocytes. Mutation analysis of CAR2, in silico modeling, and ligand docking studies suggested that the SPTV amino acid insertion of CAR2 creates a unique ligand-binding pocket. Alternative gene splicing results in variant CAR receptors that selectively recognize phthalates and BPA. The interaction of phthalates with CAR and PXR suggests a xenobiotic response that is complex and biologically redundant.
Project description:The constitutive active/androstane receptor (CAR) regulates hepatic drug metabolism by activating genes, such as cytochrome P450, and certain transferases. p38 Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is highly activated in human primary hepatocytes but barely in human hepatoma cell lines including HepG2 cells. Liganded-CAR induced CYP2B6 mRNA in human primary hepatocytes far more effectively than in HepG2 cells ectopically expressing CAR. In the present study, we found that activation of p38 MAPK by anisomycin potentiated induction of CYP2B6 mRNA by CAR ligand in HepG2 cells to levels observed in ligand-treated human primary hepatocytes. siRNA knockdown of p38 MAPK abrogated the ability of anisomycin to synergistically induce CYP2B6 mRNA. In addition to CYP2B6, anisomycin cotreatment potentiated an increase in CYP2A7 and CYP2C9 mRNAs but not CYP3A4 or UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A1 mRNAs. Thus, activated p38 MAPK is required for liganded-CAR to selectively activate a set of genes that encode drug-metabolizing enzymes. Our present results suggest that CAR-mediated induction of these enzymes cannot be understood by ligand binding alone because the specificity and magnitude of induction are codetermined by a given cell signaling, such as p38 MAPK; both physiologic and pathophysiological states of cell signaling may have a strong impact in hepatic drug-metabolizing capability during treatments.
Project description:The nuclear protein constitutive active/androstane receptor (CAR or NR1I3) regulates several liver functions such as drug and energy metabolism and cell growth or death, which are often involved in the development of diseases such as diabetes and hepatocellular carcinoma. CAR undergoes a conversion from inactive homodimers to active heterodimers with retinoid X receptor ? (RXR?), and phosphorylation of the DNA-binding domain (DBD) at Thr-38 in CAR regulates this conversion. Here, we uncovered the molecular mechanism by which this phosphorylation regulates the intramolecular interaction between CAR's DBD and ligand-binding domain (LBD), enabling the homodimer-heterodimer conversion. Phosphomimetic substitution of Thr-38 with Asp increased co-immunoprecipitation of the CAR DBD with CAR LBD in Huh-7 cells. Isothermal titration calorimetry assays also revealed that recombinant CAR DBD-T38D, but not nonphosphorylated CAR DBD, bound the CAR LBD peptide. This DBD-LBD interaction masked CAR's dimer interface, preventing CAR homodimer formation. Of note, EGF signaling weakened the interaction of CAR DBD T38D with CAR LBD, converting CAR to the homodimer form. The DBD-T38D-LBD interaction also prevented CAR from forming a heterodimer with RXR?. However, this interaction opened up a CAR surface, allowing interaction with protein phosphatase 2A. Thr-38 dephosphorylation then dissociated the DBD-LBD interaction, allowing CAR heterodimer formation with RXR?. We conclude that the intramolecular interaction of phosphorylated DBD with the LBD enables CAR to adapt a transient monomer configuration that can be converted to either the inactive homodimer or the active heterodimer.
Project description:The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR; NR1I3) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily and functions as an important xenochemical sensor and transcriptional modulator in mammalian cells. Upon chemical activation, CAR undergoes nuclear translocation and heterodimerization with the retinoid X receptor subsequent to its DNA target interaction. CAR is unusual among nuclear receptors in that it possesses a high level of constitutive activity in cell-based assays, obscuring the detection of ligand activators. However, a human splice variant of CAR, termed CAR3, exhibits negligible constitutive activity. In addition, CAR3 is activated by ligands with similar specificity as the reference form of the receptor. In this study, we hypothesized that similar CAR3 receptors could be constructed across various mammalian species' forms of CAR that would preserve species-specific ligand responses, thus enabling a more sensitive and differential screening assessment of CAR response among animal models. A battery of CAR3 receptors was produced in mouse, rat, and dog and comparatively evaluated with selected ligands together with human CAR1 and CAR3 in mammalian cell reporter assays. The results demonstrate that the 5-amino acid insertion that typifies human CAR3 also imparts ligand-activated receptor function in other species' CAR while maintaining signature responses in each species to select CAR ligands. These variant constructs permit in vitro evaluation of differential chemical effector responses across species and coupled with in vivo assays, the species-selective contributions of CAR in normal physiology and in disease processes such as hepatocarcinogenesis.
Project description:We have previously shown that the retinoid-related orphan receptor alpha (ROR?) phosphorylation plays a pivotal role in sulfotransferase 1E1 gene regulation within mouse liver. Here, we found serine 100-phosphorylated ROR? orchestrates constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4?) to induce CYP2B6 by phenobarbital (PB) in human primary hepatocytes (HPHs). ROR? knockdown using small interfering RNAs suppressed CYP2B6 mRNAs in HPH, whereas transient expression of ROR? in COS-1 cells activated CYP2B6 promoter activity in reporter assays. Through chromatin immunoprecipitation (IP) and gel shift assays, we found that ROR? in the form of phosphorylated (p-) S100 directly bound to a newly identified ROR? response element (ROR? response element on CYP2B6 promoter, -660/-649) within the CYP2B6 promoter in untreated or treated HPH. In PB-treated HPH, p-Ser100 ROR? was both enriched in the distal phenobarbital response element module (PBREM) and the proximal okadaic acid response element (OARE), a known HNF4? binding site. Chromatin conformation capture assay revealed direct contact between the PBREM and OARE only in PB-treated HPH. Moreover, CAR preferably interacted with phosphomimetically mutated ROR? at Ser100 residue in co-IP assay. A gel shift assay with a radiolabeled OARE module and nuclear extracts prepared from PB-treated mouse liver confirmed that HNF4? formed a complex with Ser 100-phosphorylated ROR?, as shown by supershifted complexes with anti-p-Ser100 ROR? and anti-HNF4? antibodies. Altogether, the results established that p-Ser100 ROR? bridging the PBREM and OARE orchestrates CAR and HNF4? to form active chromatin complex during PB-induced CYP2B6 expression in human primary hepatocytes. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: CYP2B6 is a vital enzyme for the metabolic elimination of xenobiotics, and it is prone to induction by xenobiotics, including phenobarbital via constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 alpha (HNF4?). Here, we show that retinoid-related orphan receptor alpha (ROR?), through phosphorylated S100 residue, orchestrated CAR-HNF4? interaction on the CYP2B6 promoter in human primary hepatocyte cultures. These results signify not only the role of ROR? in the molecular process of CYP2B6 induction, but it also reveals the importance of conserved phosphorylation sites within the DNA-binding domain of the receptor.
Project description:Constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and pregnane X receptor (PXR) are closely related orphan nuclear receptor proteins that share several ligands and target overlapping sets of genes involved in homeostasis and all phases of drug metabolism. CAR and PXR are involved in the development of certain diseases, including diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity. Ligand screens for these receptors so far have typically focused on steroid hormone analogs with pharmacophore-based approaches, only to find relatively few new hits. Multiple CAR isoforms have been detected in human liver, with the most abundant being the constitutively active reference, CAR1, and the ligand-dependent isoform CAR3. It has been assumed that any compound that binds CAR1 should also activate CAR3, and so CAR3 can be used as a ligand-activated surrogate for CAR1 studies. The possibility of CAR3-specific ligands has not, so far, been addressed. To investigate the differences between CAR1, CAR3 and PXR, and to look for more CAR ligands that may be of use in quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) studies, we performed a luciferase transactivation assay screen of 60 mostly non-steroid compounds. Known active compounds with different core chemistries were chosen as starting points and structural variants were rationally selected for screening. Distinct differences in agonist versus inverse agonist/antagonist effects were seen in 49 compounds that had some ligand effect on at least one receptor and 18 that had effects on all three receptors; eight were CAR1 ligands only, three were CAR3 only ligands and four affected PXR only. This work provides evidence for new CAR ligands, some of which have CAR3-specific effects, and provides observational data on CAR and PXR ligands with which to inform in silico strategies. Compounds that demonstrated unique activity on any one receptor are potentially valuable diagnostic tools for the investigation of in vivo molecular targets.
Project description:Metformin is currently the most widely used drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Mechanistically, metformin interacts with many protein kinases and transcription factors that alter the expression of numerous downstream target genes governing lipid metabolism, cell proliferation, and drug metabolism. The constitutive androstane receptor (CAR, NR1i3), a known xenobiotic sensor, has recently been recognized as a novel signaling molecule, in that its activation could be regulated by protein kinases in addition to the traditional ligand binding. We show that metformin could suppress drug-induced expression of CYP2B6 (a typical target gene of CAR) by modulating the phosphorylation status of CAR. In human hepatocytes, metformin robustly suppressed the expression of CYP2B6 induced by both indirect (phenobarbital) and direct CITCO [6-(4-chlorophenyl)imidazo[2,1-b]1,3thiazole-5-carbaldehyde O-(3,4-dichlorobenzyl)oxime] activators of human CAR. Mechanistic investigation revealed that metformin specifically enhanced the phosphorylation of threonine-38 of CAR, which blocks CAR nuclear translocation and activation. Moreover, we showed that phosphorylation of CAR by metformin was primarily an AMP-activated protein kinase- and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2-dependent event. Additional two-hybrid and coimmunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that metformin could also disrupt CITCO-mediated interaction between CAR and the steroid receptor coactivator 1 or the glucocorticoid receptor-interacting protein 1. Our results suggest that metformin is a potent repressor of drug-induced CYP2B6 expression through specific inhibition of human CAR activation. Thus, metformin may affect the metabolism and clearance of drugs that are CYP2B6 substrates.