Enhancers located within two introns of the vitamin D receptor gene mediate transcriptional autoregulation by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3

Mol Endocrinol. 2006 Jun;20(6):1231-47. doi: 10.1210/me.2006-0015. Epub 2006 Feb 23.


The biological actions of 1,25-(OH)2D3 are mediated by the vitamin D receptor (VDR), a protein that binds to target genes and alters their expression. 1,25-(OH)2D3 is also capable of inducing transcription of the VDR gene itself. In the present study, we explored both the capacity of 1,25-(OH)2D3 to induce VDR gene expression in bone cells and the mechanism instrumental to this up-regulation. After establishing the ability of 1,25-(OH)2D3 to stimulate VDR mRNA up-regulation both in bone in vivo and in osteoblastic cells, we screened the mouse VDR gene locus from 20 kb upstream of the gene's transcriptional start site (TSS) to 10 kb downstream of the final exon to identify VDR binding sites using chromatin immunoprecipitation-DNA microarray (ChIP-chip) analysis. Three conserved regions were identified 20, 27, and 29 kb downstream of the TSS. VDR binding to these sites in response to 1,25-(OH)2D3 was confirmed by ChIP analysis and was accompanied by differential localization of retinoid X receptor, histone acetylation, and RNA polymerase II recruitment. One of these regions was able to confer 1,25-(OH)2D3 regulation to downstream promoters, thereby permitting identification and characterization of the regulatory element located within. Importantly, a highly conserved region within the human VDR gene analogous to that discovered in the mouse was also capable of mediating 1,25-(OH)2D3 response. Our results demonstrate that 1,25-(OH)2D3 and its receptor autoregulate the expression of the VDR gene. The location of these regulatory regions and their apparent distances from the TSS are consistent with new findings suggesting the emerging relevance of distant enhancers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Bone and Bones / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Introns
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Osteoblasts / drug effects
  • Osteoblasts / metabolism
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / chemistry
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Retinoid X Receptors / chemistry
  • Retinoid X Receptors / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects


  • Histones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • DNA
  • RNA Polymerase II
  • Calcitriol