Autoregulation of glucocorticoid receptor gene expression

Kerry L. Burnstein, Deborah L. Bellingham, Christine M. Jewell, Frances E. Powell-Oliver, John A. Cidlowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoid receptors are members of a highly conserved family of steroid receptor proteins, which are ligand-dependent transcription factors. Previous studies have shown that the presence of functional glucocorticoid receptors is a prerequisite for manifestation of cellular responses to hormone. Glucocorticoid receptors undergo down-regulation following treatment with glucocorticoids. To define the molecular mechanisms that are involved in this process we have analyzed the down-regulation of glucocorticoid receptors both in HeLa cells, which contain endogenous receptors, and in cells containing receptors that have been introduced by DNA transfection. Our results show that cells that contain glucocorticoid receptors-either endogenous or transfected-undergo down-regulation of steroid-binding capabilities, as well as reductions in receptor protein and mRNA levels, in a remarkably similar fashion. DNA sequences in the coding region of the human glucocorticoid receptor cDNA appear to be sufficient to account for down-regulation of receptor. This novel finding suggests that unique mechanisms are involved in controlling glucocorticoid receptor homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-58
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • autoregulation
  • down-regulation
  • glucocorticoid receptor
  • steroid hormone receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology


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