Isolation of a thyroid hormone-responsive gene by immunoprecipitation of thyroid hormone receptor-DNA complexes.


Thyroid hormone (T3) receptor (TR) is a ligand-dependent transcription factor that acts through specific binding sites in the promoter region of target genes. In order to identify new genes that are regulated by T3, we used anti-TR antiserum to immunoprecipitate TR-DNA complexes from GH4 cell nuclei that had previously been treated with a restriction enzyme. Screening of the immunopurified, cloned DNA for TR binding sites by electrophoretic mobility shift assay yielded 53 positive clones. A subset of these clones was specifically immunoprecipitated with anti-TR antiserum and may therefore represent biologically significant binding sites. One of these clones, clone 122, was characterized in detail. It includes sequences highly related to the NICER long terminal repeat-like element and contains three TR binding sites as determined by DNase I footprinting. Two of the clone 122 TR binding sites are located upstream of the TATA box, and one is located downstream. The TR binding site downstream from the promoter was necessary and sufficient to confer T3-dependent regulation in transient transfection experiments. Expression of a reporter construct under the control of the clone 122 promoter region was activated by TR in the absence of ligand and returned to basal levels after T3 addition. Clone 122 sequences hybridize to at least two different mRNAs of approximately 6 and 10 kb from GH4 cells. The levels of both of these mRNAs increased upon removal of T3. Our studies suggest that specific immunoprecipitation of chromatin allows identification of binding sites and target genes for transcription factors.

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