Regulation by Progestins, Corticosteroids, and RU486 of Transcriptional Activation of Elephant Shark and Human Progesterone Receptors: An Evolutionary Perspective.
We investigated progestin and corticosteroid activation of the progesterone receptor (PR) from elephant shark, a cartilaginous fish belonging to the oldest group of jawed vertebrates. Comparison with the human PR provides insights into the evolution of steroid activation of the human PR. At 1 nM steroid, the elephant shark PR is activated by progesterone, 17-hydroxy-progesterone, 20β-hydroxy-progesterone, 11-deoxycorticosterone (21-hydroxyprogesterone), and 11-deoxycortisol. The human PR, in comparison, is activated at 1 nM steroid, only by progesterone and 11-deoxycorticosterone, indicating increased progestin and corticosteroid specificity during the evolution of the human PR. RU486, an important clinical antagonist of the human PR, did not inhibit progesterone activation of the elephant shark PR. Cys-528 in the elephant shark PR corresponds to Gly-722 in the human PR, which is essential for RU486 inhibition of the human PR. Confirming the importance of Cys-528 in the elephant shark PR, RU486 inhibited progesterone activation of the Cys528Gly mutant PR. To investigate the physiological relevance of Gly-722 in the human PR and Cys-528 in the elephant shark PR, we studied steroid activation of the Gly722Cys human PR and Cys528Gly elephant shark PR. Compared to the wild-type human PR, there was an increase in the activation of human Gly722Cys PR by11-deoxycortisol and a decrease in activation by corticosterone, which may have been important in selection for the mutation corresponding to the human glycine-722 PR that first evolved in the platypus PR, a basal mammal.