Dopamine activation of an orphan of the steroid receptor superfamily

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Science  14 Jun 1991:
Vol. 252, Issue 5012, pp. 1546-1548
DOI: 10.1126/science.2047861


The chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor (COUP-TF) is a member of the steroid receptor superfamily and participates in the regulation of several genes. While a number of functions have been ascribed to COUP-TF, no ligand or activator molecule has been identified, and thus it is classified as one of a group of orphan receptors. Activation of COUP-TF by physiological concentrations of the neurotransmitter dopamine was observed in transient transfection assays. Treatment of transfected cells with the dopamine receptor agonist alpha-ergocryptine also activated COUP-dependent expression of a reporter gene. COUP-TF that contained a deletion in the COOH-terminal domain was not activated by these compounds. These observations suggest that dopamine may be a physiological activator of COUP-TF.