The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a ligand-inducible transcription factor that displays interspecies differences with the human and mouse AHR C-terminal region sequences sharing only 58% amino acid sequence identity. Compared with the mouse AHR (mAHR), the human AHR (hAHR) displays ∼10-fold lower relative affinity for prototypical AHR ligands such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, which has been attributed to the amino acid residue valine 381 (alanine 375 in the mAHR) in the ligand binding domain of the hAHR. We investigated whether the 10-fold difference in ligand-binding affinity between the mAHR and hAHR would be observed with a diverse range of AHR ligands. To test this hypothesis, ligand binding assays were performed using the photo-affinity ligand 2-azido-3-[125I]iodo-7,8-dibromodibenzo-p- dioxin and liver cytosol isolated from hepatocyte-specific transgenic hAHR mice and C57BL/6J mice. It is noteworthy that competitive ligand-binding assays revealed that, compared with the mAHR, the hAHR has a higher relative affinity for certain compounds, including indirubin [(2Z)-2,3-biindole-2,3 (1′H,1′H)-dione and quercetin (2-(3,4dihydroxyphenyl)-3,5,7- trihydroxy-4H-chromen-4-one]. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that indirubin was more efficient at transforming the hAHR compared with the mAHR. Indirubin was also a more potent inducer of Cyp1a1 expression in transgenic hAHR mouse hepatocytes compared with C57BL/6J mouse hepatocytes. These observations suggest that indirubin is a potent hAHR ligand that is able to selectively bind to and activate the hAHR. These discoveries imply that there may be a significant degree of structural divergence between mAHR and hAHR ligands and highlights the importance of the hAHR transgenic mouse as a model to study the hAHR in vivo.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine