Quantification of ligand-regulated nuclear receptor corepressor and coactivator binding, key interactions determining ligand potency and efficacy for the thyroid hormone receptor

Biochemistry. 2008 Jul 15;47(28):7465-76. doi: 10.1021/bi800393u. Epub 2008 Jun 18.


The potency and efficacy of ligands for nuclear receptors (NR) result both from the affinity of the ligand for the receptor and from the affinity that various coregulatory proteins have for ligand-receptor complexes; the latter interaction, however, is rarely quantified. To understand the molecular basis for ligand potency and efficacy, we developed dual time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (tr-FRET) assays and quantified binding of both ligand and coactivator or corepressor to the thyroid hormone receptor (TR). Promoter-bound TR exerts dual transcriptional regulatory functions, recruiting corepressor proteins and repressing transcription in the absence of thyroid hormones (THs) and shedding corepressors in favor of coactivators upon binding agonists, activating transcription. Our tr-FRET assays involve a TRE sequence labeled with terbium (fluorescence donor), TRbeta.RXRalpha heterodimer, and fluorescein-labeled NR interaction domains of coactivator SRC3 or corepressor NCoR (fluorescence acceptors). Through coregulator titrations, we could determine the affinity of SRC3 or NCoR for TRE-bound TR.RXR heterodimers, unliganded or saturated with different THs. Alternatively, through ligand titrations, we could determine the relative potencies of different THs. The order of TR agonist potencies is as follows: GC-1 approximately T 3 approximately TRIAC approximately T 4 >> rT 3 (for both coactivator recruitment and corepressor dissociation); the affinities of SRC3 binding to TR-ligand complexes followed a similar trend. This highlights the fact that the low activity of rT 3 is derived both from its low affinity for TR and from the low affinity of SRC for the TR-rT 3 complex. The TR antagonist NH-3 failed to induce SRC3 recruitment but did effect NCoR dissociation. These assays provide quantitative information about the affinity of two key interactions that are determinants of NR ligand potency and efficacy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Kinetics
  • Ligands
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 1
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 3
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / chemistry
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / genetics
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / metabolism*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Fluorescence
  • Thyroxine / metabolism
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*
  • Triiodothyronine / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • NCOR1 protein, human
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Nuclear Receptor Co-Repressor 1
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Triiodothyronine
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • NCOA3 protein, human
  • Nuclear Receptor Coactivator 3
  • Thyroxine