A Widely Used Retinoic Acid Receptor Antagonist Induces PPAR Activity

Authors:
Schupp M, Curtin JC, Kim RJ, Billin AN, Lazar MA
In:
Source: Mol Pharmacol
Publication Date: (2007)
Issue: 71(5): 1251-7
Research Area:
Cancer Research/Cell Biology
Cells used in publication:
293T
Species: human
Tissue Origin: kidney
3T3-L1 ad
Species: mouse
Tissue Origin: embryo
Platform:
Nucleofectorâ„¢ I/II/2b
Abstract
Nuclear receptors (NRs) are transcription factors whose activity is regulated by the binding of small lipophilic ligands, including hormones, vitamins, and metabolites. Pharmacological NR ligands serve as important therapeutic agents; for example, all-trans retinoic acid, an activating ligand for retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARalpha), is used to treat leukemia. Another RARalpha ligand, (E)-S,S-dioxide-4-(2-(7-(heptyloxy)-3,4-dihydro-4,4-dimethyl-2H-1-benzothiopyran-6-yl)-1-propenyl)-benzoic acid (Ro 41-5253), is a potent antagonist that has been a useful and purportedly specific probe of RARalpha function. Here, we report that Ro 41-5253 also activates the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), a master regulator of adipocyte differentiation and target of widely prescribed antidiabetic thiazolidinediones (TZDs). Ro 41-5253 enhanced differentiation of mouse and human preadipocytes and activated PPARgamma target genes in mature adipocytes. Like the TZDs, Ro 41-5253 also down-regulated PPARgamma protein expression in adipocytes. In addition, Ro 41-5253 activated the PPARgamma-ligand binding domain in transiently transfected HEK293T cells. These effects were not prevented by a potent RARalpha agonist or by depleting cells of RARalpha, indicating that PPARgamma activation was not related to RARalpha antagonism. Indeed, Ro 41-5253 was able to compete with TZD ligands for binding to PPARgamma, suggesting that Ro 41-5253 directly affects PPAR activity. These results vividly demonstrate that pharmacological NR ligands may have "off-target" effects on other NRs. Ro 41-5253 is a PPARgamma agonist as well as an RARalpha antagonist whose pleiotropic effects on NRs may signify a unique spectrum of biological responses.