Mechanisms of Enhancer-mediated Hormonal Control of Vitamin D Receptor Gene Expression in Target Cells [Gene Regulation]

October 25th, 2015 by Lee, S. M., Meyer, M. B., Benkusky, N. A., O'Brien, C. A., Pike, J. W.

The biological actions of 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3) are mediated by the vitamin D receptor (VDR) whose expression in bone cells is regulated positively by 1,25(OH)2D3, retinoic acid and parathyroid hormone through both intergenic and intronic enhancers. In this report, we used ChIP-seq analysis to confirm the presence of these Vdr gene enhancers in mesenchymal-derived bone cells and then describe the epigenetic histone landscape that span the Vdr locus. Using bacterial artificial chromosome-minigene stable cell lines, CRISPR/Cas9 enhancer-deleted daughter cell lines, transient transfection/mutagenesis analyses and transgenic mice, we confirm the functionality of these bone cell enhancers in vivo as well as in vitro. We also identified VDR binding sites across the Vdr gene locus in kidney and intestine using ChIP-seq analysis, revealing that that only one of the bone cell-type enhancers bound VDR in kidney tissue and none were occupied by the VDR in the intestine, consistent with weak or absent regulation by the 1,25(OH)2D3 hormone in these tissues, respectively. However, a number of additional sites of VDR binding unique to either kidney or intestine were present further upstream of the Vdr gene, suggesting the potential for alternative regulatory loci. Importantly, virtually all of these regions retained histone signatures consistent with those of enhancers and exhibited unique DNase I hypersensitivity profiles that reflected the potential for chromatin access. These studies define mechanisms associated with hormonal regulation of the Vdr and hint at the differential nature of VDR binding activity at the Vdr gene in different primary target tissues in vivo.