CYP26A1 gene promoter is a useful tool for reporting RAR-mediated retinoid activity

Reza Zolfaghari, Floyd J. Mattie, Cheng Hsin Wei, David R. Chisholm, Andrew Whiting, A. Catharine Ross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Of numerous genes regulated by retinoic acid (RA), CYP26A1 is the most inducible gene by RA. In this study, we have used a shortened construct form, E4, of the CYP26A1 gene promoter, in a promoter-less vector with either luciferase or red fluorescent protein (RFP) as the reporter gene and have tested its responses to retinoids in transfected HepG2 and HEK293T cells. The promoter responded linearly to a wide concentration range of RA in cells cotransfected with retinoic acid receptors. It also responded quantitatively to retinol and other retinoids. An isolated clonal line of HEK293T cells permanently transfected with the promoter driving the expression of RFP responded to both RA and retinol, and the responses could be measured by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. The promoter was used to assess the retinoid activity of 3 novel synthetic retinoid analogues, as well as of the intact serum samples of rats. Among the synthetic retinoid analogues tested, EC23 is more potent than RA at lower concentrations and was more stable than RA. The retinoid activities could be measured in control rat serum samples and were increased in the serum of RA-treated rats. This system offers a biologically-based alternative to mass-based retinoid analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-109
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
StatePublished - Jul 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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