A Mechanism to Enhance Cellular Responsivity to Hormone Action: Krüppel-Like Factor 9 Promotes Thyroid Hormone Receptor-β Autoinduction During Postembryonic Brain Development

Associated faculty or student(s): Publication Date:
Monday, April 11, 2016

Thyroid hormone (TH) receptor (TR)-β (trb) is induced by TH (autoinduced) in Xenopus tadpoles during metamorphosis. We previously showed that Krüppel-like factor 9 (Klf9) is rapidly induced by TH in the tadpole brain, associates in chromatin with the trb upstream region in a developmental stage and TH-dependent manner, and forced expression of Klf9 in the Xenopus laevis cell line XTC-2 accelerates and enhances trb autoinduction. Here we investigated whether Klf9 can promote trb autoinduction in tadpole brain in vivo. Using electroporation-mediated gene transfer, we transfected plasmids into premetamorphic tadpole brain to express wild-type or mutant forms of Klf9. Forced expression of Klf9 increased baseline trb mRNA levels in thyroid-intact but not in goitrogen-treated tadpoles, supporting that Klf9 enhances liganded TR action. As in XTC-2 cells, forced expression of Klf9 enhanced trb autoinduction in tadpole brain in vivo and also increased TH-dependent induction of the TR target genes klf9 and thbzip. Consistent with our previous mutagenesis experiments conducted in XTC-2 cells, the actions of Klf9 in vivo required an intact N-terminal region but not a functional DNA binding domain. Forced expression of TRβ in tadpole brain by electroporation-mediated gene transfer increased baseline and TH-induced TR target gene transcription, supporting a role for trb autoinduction during metamorphosis. Our findings support that Klf9 acts as an accessory transcription factor for TR at the trb locus during tadpole metamorphosis, enhancing trb autoinduction and transcription of other TR target genes, which increases cellular responsivity to further TH action on developmental gene regulation programs.

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