The 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (VD) analogues MC903, EB1089 and KH1060 activate the VD receptor: homodimers show higher ligand sensitivity than heterodimers with retinoid X receptors

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 1994 Nov;51(3-4):137-42. doi: 10.1016/0960-0760(94)90086-8.


The nuclear receptor for 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (VD), VDR, belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily. This ligand-inducible transcription factor mediates the genomic VD signalling pathways by binding to specific response elements in the promoter region of VD regulated genes. Two types of natural VD response elements are used as models for the VDR-mediated transcriptional activation: one is bound by VDR-homodimers and is found in the human osteocalcin gene promoter, and the other is bound by heterodimers of VDR with retinoid X receptors (RXRs) as in the mouse osteopontin promoter. Here, we demonstrate that the VD analogues MC903, EB1089 and KH1060, previously shown to be potent regulators of proliferation and differentiation, are able to act as ligands for VDR and replace VD as a ligand in both nuclear signalling pathways. We found that they have different potency and sensitivity in their ability to stimulate the hormone-dependent promoter element. MC903 and EB1089 provide about 20% higher induction of gene activity than VD in a gene reporter system, whereas KH1060 was more sensitive, inducing transcription at about 100-fold lower doses than VD. Interestingly, VD and its analogues induce VDR homodimer-mediated gene activity at a 3- to 4-fold lower concentration than that of VDR-RXR heterodimers. This suggests that the ligand concentration is an additional regulatory level in the discrimination between signalling pathways involving homo- and heterodimeric hormone receptors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Calcitriol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Calcitriol / pharmacology
  • DNA / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / metabolism
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / genetics
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid / metabolism
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors / drug effects*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / drug effects
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured / metabolism


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Transcription Factors
  • KH 1060
  • calcipotriene
  • DNA
  • Calcitriol
  • seocalcitol