Nuclear orphan receptor Nurr1 directly transactivates the osteocalcin gene in osteoblasts

Flavia Q. Pirih, Alan Tang, Ibrahim C. Ozkurt, Jeanne M. Nervina, Sotirios Tetradis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nurr1, an NGFI-B nuclear orphan receptor, which transactivates promoters through an NGFI-B response element (NBRE), is strongly induced by parathyroid hormone through the cAMP-protein kinase A signaling pathway in osteoblasts. Here, we demonstrate that multiple agents activating diverse signaling pathways in osteoblasts induce Nurr1. The strongest Nurr1 inducers were activators of cAMP-protein kinase A-coupled signaling, followed by protein kinase C- and calcium-coupled signaling activators. Receptor tyrosine kinase activators had minimal effect, whereas serine/threonine kinase activators had no effect on basal Nurr1 mRNA levels. Computer analysis of osteoblastic promoters indicated two potential NBREs in the rat osteocalcin (Ocn) promoter. Intriguingly, the proximal site maps to the cAMP-responsive cis-element. We tested whether Nurr1 induces Ocn expression through the NBRE-like site. Recombinant and endogenous Nurr1 protein from primary mouse osteoblasts bound to a consensus NBRE in EMSAs. Nurr1 induced a consensus 3 x NBRE-luciferase reporter construct in mouse osteoblasts. Recombinant and endogenous Nurr1 protein bound to the proximal NBRE-like site in the Ocn promoter in EMSAs. Endogenous Nurr1 protein bound to this site as a monomer, because neither retinoid X receptor α nor retinoid X receptor β antibody supershifted the protein-DNA complex. Ocn promoter-luciferase constructs lacking or containing a mutated proximal NBRE-like site had markedly blunted responses to Nurr1 overexpression. Finally, adenovirally expressed Nurr1 protein bound to the proximal NBRE-like site in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and induced Ocn mRNA in primary rat osteoblasts. We conclude that Ocn is a Nurr1 target gene, which positions Nurr1 in the core of transcriptional factors regulating osteoblastic gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53167-53174
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 17 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nuclear orphan receptor Nurr1 directly transactivates the osteocalcin gene in osteoblasts'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this