|Home | About | Journals | Submit | Contact Us | Français|
The biological response to progesterone is mediated by two distinct forms of the human progesterone receptor (hPR-A and hPR-B). In most cell contexts, hPR-B functions as a transcriptional activator of progesterone-responsive genes, whereas hPR-A functions as a transcriptional inhibitor of all steroid hormone receptors. We have created mutations within the carboxyl terminus of hPR which differentially effect the transcriptional activity of hPR-B in a cell- and promoter-specific manner. Analogous mutations, when introduced into hPR-A, have no effect on its ability to inhibit the transcriptional activity of other steroid hormone receptors. The observed differences in the structural requirements for hPR-B and hPR-A function suggest that transcriptional activation and repression by PR are mediated by two separate pathways within the cell. In support of this hypothesis, we have shown that hPR-A mediated repression of human estrogen receptor (hER) transcriptional activity is not dependent on hER expression level but depends largely on the absolute expression level of hPR-A. Thus, it appears that hPR-A inhibits hER transcriptional activity as a consequence of a noncompetitive interaction of hPR-A with either distinct cellular targets or different contact sites on the same target. We propose that hPR-A expression facilitates a ligand-dependent cross-talk among sex steroid receptor signaling pathways within the cell. It is likely, therefore, that alterations in the expression level of hPR-A or its cellular target can have profound effects on the physiological or pharmacological responses to sex steroid hormone receptor ligands.