Characterization of three growth hormone-responsive transcription factors preferentially expressed in adult female liver

Endocrinology. 2007 Jul;148(7):3327-37. doi: 10.1210/en.2006-1192. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


Plasma GH profiles regulate the sexually dimorphic expression of cytochromes P450 and many other genes in rat and mouse liver; however, the proximal transcriptional regulators of these genes are unknown. Presently, we characterize three liver transcription factors that are expressed in adult female rat and mouse liver at levels up to 16-fold [thymus high-mobility group box protein (Tox)], 73-fold [tripartite motif-containing 24 (Trim24)/transcription initiation factor-1alpha (TIF1alpha)], and 125-fold [cut-like 2 (Cutl2)/cut homeobox 2 (Cux2)] higher than in adult males, depending on the strain and species, with Tox expression only detected in mice. In rats, these sex differences first emerged at puberty, when the high prepubertal expression of Cutl2 and Trim24 was extinguished in males but was further increased in females. Rat hepatic expression of Cutl2 and Trim24 was abolished by hypophysectomy and, in the case of Cutl2, was restored to near-female levels by continuous GH replacement. Cutl2 and Trim24 were increased to female-like levels in livers of intact male rats and mice treated with GH continuously (female GH pattern), whereas Tox expression reached only about 40% of adult female levels. Expression of all three genes was also elevated to normal female levels or higher in male mice whose plasma GH profile was feminized secondary to somatostatin gene disruption. Cutl2 and Trim24 both responded to GH infusion in mice within 10-24 h and Tox within 4 d, as compared with at least 4-7 d required for the induced expression of several continuous GH-regulated cytochromes P450 and other female-specific hepatic genes. Cutl2, Trim24, and Tox were substantially up-regulated in livers of male mice deficient in either of two transcription factors implicated in GH regulation of liver sex specificity, namely, signal transducer and activator of transcription 5b (STAT5b) and hepatocyte nuclear factor 4alpha (HNF4alpha), with sex-specific expression being substantially reduced or lost in mice deficient in either nuclear factor. Cutl2 and Trim24 both display transcriptional repressor activity and could thus contribute to the loss of GH-regulated, male-specific liver gene expression seen in male mice deficient in STAT5b or HNF4alpha. Binding sites for Cutl1, whose DNA-binding specificity is close to that of Cutl2, were statistically overrepresented in STAT5b-dependent male-specific mouse genes, lending support to this hypothesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Blotting, Western
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Growth Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Growth Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 / genetics
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Hypophysectomy
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / deficiency
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Sex Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 4
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • STAT5 Transcription Factor
  • Stat5b protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors
  • transcriptional intermediary factor 1
  • Growth Hormone