Editorial
Nuclear Receptor Research
Vol. 5 (2018), Article ID 101366, 3 pages
doi:10.11131/2018/101366

Non-Mammalian Nuclear Receptors: From Evolution to Human Disease

Chris R. Gissendanner1, William S. Baldwin2,3, and Marcel J. M. Schaaf4

1Biology Program, School of Sciences, University of Louisiana Monroe, Monroe, LA 71209, USA

2Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

3Environmental Toxicology Program, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

4Institute of Biology (IBL), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 17 May 2018; Accepted 17 May 2018

Copyright © 2018 Chris R. Gissendanner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

In 1964, Ulrich Clever published a landmark paper on the actions of 20-hydroxyecdysone (20E), the hormone that regulates molting and metamorphosis in insects. Based on the puffing activity of Chironomus tentans salivary gland polytene chromosomes, Clever was able to establish a pattern of gene activation in response to 20E [1]. A decade later, Michael Ashburner, utilizing Drosophilamelanogaster salivary gland polytene chromosomes, established a formalized model (the “Ashburner Model”) where 20E, bound to its receptor, activates a set of primary (“early”) target genes. The products of these genes, in turn, repress their own expression, and activate the transcription of secondary (“late”) target genes that control metamorphosis [2]. Subsequently, it was shown that the receptor for 20E, EcR, was an insect member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, and EcR, along with its heterodimer partner Usp (homolog of RXR), bind 20E and activate a set of early target genes at the onset of metamorphosis [3,4]. Additionally, many of the early gene products were also nuclear receptors that regulated the transcription of the secondary late genes [4]. Thus, the fruit fly as an invertebrate model system for studying nuclear receptor signaling was established. The regulation of metamorphosis, in association with powerful fruit fly genetics, became an important system for deciphering the mechanisms of nuclear receptor action, and subsequent studies demonstrated the utility that invertebrate species such as the fruit fly possess in understanding nuclear receptor function in the context of a whole organism.

Many of the different nuclear receptor (NR) superfamily groups are conserved throughout the Metazoa. Therefore, studies of nuclear receptors in non-mammalian species, including genetic model organisms such as Drosophila and zebrafish (Danio rerio) and environmentally relevant species such as Fundulus and Daphnia, provide an essential complement to mammalian NR research. Such studies can provide insights into deep, conserved aspects of NR signaling, and ecologically adapted functional roles [5]. Additionally, such studies have yielded many unexpected findings. For example, the genome of Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living soil nematode, encodes greater than 280 nuclear receptors, due to an apparent expansion and diversification of the HNF4 group [6]. NRs evolved from a likely ancestral fatty acid receptor to a diverse group of receptors that recognize multiple ligands, or can be ligand-independent transcription factors due to subtle modification of the internal cavity [7]. Non-mammalian vertebrate organisms have also provided important insights. Zebrafish has an array of genetic tools at its disposal and is especially well-suited for studies related to embryonic development and organogenesis. It has been particularly useful in probing various aspects of steroid NR signaling, as well as the evolution of promiscuous receptors [8,9]. Finally, comparative analyses of NRs in non-mammalian species have been essential in revealing the evolutionary history of this transcription factor superfamily [10].

Despite the many important discoveries that have come from nuclear receptor research in non-mammalian systems, these organisms are still largely underutilized. In this special issue of Nuclear Receptor Research, we present five articles that further demonstrate the insights that can be gained by investigating nuclear receptors in non-mammalian systems.

In Bodofsky et al, [11] the authors take a broad view across three model organisms- Drosophila, C. elegans, and mouse- and assess not only the functional conservation of NRs during development but also where NRs have been exapted, or repurposed for different functions in different species. They conclude that exaptation is emphasized over functional conservation with respect to development in these species (http://www.agialpress.com/journals/nurr/2017/101305/).

In Praslicka et al, [12] the authors utilize ChiP-seq to identify binding sites and target genes of the C. elegans NR4A ortholog, NHR-6. Prior work had demonstrated that NHR-6 regulates cell proliferation and cell differentiation during organogenesis, and the authors found evidence for a complex network of genes regulated by NHR-6, including genes with cell cycle, chromatin modification, cell signaling, and metabolic functions (http://www.agialpress.com/journals/nurr/2017/101288/).

A review article by Marcel J.M. Schaaf [13] provides an overview of fifteen years of steroid receptor research in zebrafish. The review illustrates the importance of zebrafish in studying the effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, and provides a comprehensive of overview of zebrafish ERs, PR, AR GR, and MR. Current and future trends in zebrafish NR research, such as its use in phenotypic screening of novel steroid drugs, are highlighted (http://www.agialpress.com/journals/nurr/2017/101286/).

The Baldwin et al article [14] describes the phylogenetic analysis and annotation of nuclear receptor genes in Fundulus heteroclitus (mummichog; Atlantic killifish). This species is an important field model for environmental research due to its ability to respond to and withstand variable environmental conditions. The authors describe the conservation, divergence, expansion, and absence of specific NRs, including the co-expansion of the opposing NRs Reverb-ROR and RAR/RXR-COUPTF, and the absence of the common heterodimeric partner, RXRα (http://www.agialpress.com/journals/nurr/2017/101285/).

Finally, the article by Holzer and Laudet [15] describes the discovery of two additional thyroid hormone receptor (TR) genes in the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus. This result is very interesting since P. marinus is an agnathan, a jawless vertebrate, and is an important species for understanding vertebrate evolution. This finding adds an intriguing piece to the puzzle of TR evolution since thyroid hormone signaling is thought to have first appeared in agnathans (http://www.agialpress.com/journals/nurr/2017/101287/).

References

  1. U. Clever, “Actinomycin and puromycin: Effects on sequential gene activation by ecdysone,” Science, vol. 146, no. 3645, pp. 794–795, 1964. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  2. M. Ashburner, C. Chihara, P. Meltzer, and G. Richards, “Temporal control of puffing activity in polytene chromosomes,” Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology, vol. 38, pp. 655–662, 1974. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  3. M. R. Koelle, W. S. Talbot, W. A. Segraves, M. T. Bender, P. Cherbas, and D. S. Hogness, “The drosophila EcR gene encodes an ecdysone receptor, a new member of the steroid receptor superfamily,” Cell, vol. 67, no. 1, pp. 59–77, 1991. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  4. C. S. Thummel, “From embryogenesis to metamorphosis: The regulation and function of drosophila nuclear receptor superfamily members,” Cell, vol. 83, no. 6, pp. 871–877, 1995. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  5. M. R. Milnes, A. Garcia, E. Grossman et al., “Activation of steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR, NR1/2) and its orthologs in laboratory, toxicologic, and genome model species,” Environmental Health Perspectives, vol. 116, no. 7, pp. 880–885, 2008. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  6. A. E. Sluder, S. W. Mathews, D. Hough, V. P. Yin, and C. V. Maina, “The nuclear receptor superfamily has undergone extensive proliferation and diversification in nematodes,” Genome Research, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 103–120, 1999.
  7. J. T. Bridgham, G. N. Eick, C. Larroux et al., “Protein evolution by molecular tinkering: Diversification of the nuclear receptor superfamily from a ligand-dependent ancestor,” PLoS Biology, vol. 8, no. 10, Article ID e1000497, 2010. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  8. M. J. Schaaf, A. Chatzopoulou, and H. P. Spaink, “The a model system for glucocorticoid receptor research,” Comp BiochemPhysiol A MolIntegr Physiol, vol. 153, pp. 75–82, 2009. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  9. M. D. Krasowski, K. Yasuda, L. R. Hagey, and E. G. Schuetz, “Evolution of the pregnane X receptor: Adaptation to cross-species differences in biliary bile salts,” Molecular Endocrinology, vol. 19, no. 7, pp. 1720–1739, 2005. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  10. H. Escriva, S. Bertrand, and V. Laudet, “The evolution of the nuclear receptor superfamily,” Essays in Biochemistry, vol. 40, pp. 11–26, 2004. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  11. S. Bodofsky, F. Koitz, and B. Wightman, “Conserved and Exapted Functions of Nuclear Receptors in Animal Development,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 4, Article ID 101305, 33 pages, 2017. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  12. B. Praslicka, J. S. Harmson, J. Kim, V. R. Rangaraj, A. Ooi, and C. R. Gissendanner, “Binding Site Analysis of the Caenorhabditis elegans NR4A Nuclear Receptor NHR-6 During Development,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 4, Article ID 101288, 17 pages, 2017. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  13. M. J. M. Schaaf, “The First Fifteen Years of Steroid Receptor Research in Zebrafish; Characterization and Functional Analysis of the Receptors,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 4, Article ID 101286, 16 pages, 2017. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  14. W. S. Baldwin, W. Tyler Boswell, G. Ginjupalli, and E. J. Litoff, “Annotation of the Nuclear Receptors in an Estuarine Fish species, Fundulus heteroclitus,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 4, Article ID 101285, 20 pages, 2017. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar
  15. G. Holzer and V. Laudet, “New Insights into Vertebrate Thyroid Hormone Receptor Evolution,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 4, Article ID 101287, 14 pages, 2017. Publisher Full Text | Google Scholar

Lead Guest Editor:

Chris R. Gissendanner

Guest Editors:

William Baldwin

Marcel Schaaf

Editorial
Nuclear Receptor Research
Vol. 5 (2018), Article ID 101366, 3 pages
doi:10.11131/2018/101366

Non-Mammalian Nuclear Receptors: From Evolution to Human Disease

Chris R. Gissendanner1, William S. Baldwin2,3 and Marcel J. M. Schaaf4

1Biology Program, School of Sciences, University of Louisiana Monroe, Monroe, LA 71209, USA

2Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

3Environmental Toxicology Program, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

4Institute of Biology (IBL), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 17 May 2018; Accepted 17 May 2018

Copyright © 2018 Chris R. Gissendanner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

There is no abstract for this article.

Editorial
Nuclear Receptor Research
Vol. 5 (2018), Article ID 101366, 3 pages
doi:10.11131/2018/101366

Non-Mammalian Nuclear Receptors: From Evolution to Human Disease

Chris R. Gissendanner1, William S. Baldwin2,3, and Marcel J. M. Schaaf4

1Biology Program, School of Sciences, University of Louisiana Monroe, Monroe, LA 71209, USA

2Biological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

3Environmental Toxicology Program, Clemson University, Clemson SC 29634, USA

4Institute of Biology (IBL), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

Received 17 May 2018; Accepted 17 May 2018

Copyright © 2018 Chris R. Gissendanner et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

How to cite this article

Chris R. Gissendanner, William S. Baldwin, Marcel J. M. Schaaf, “Non-Mammalian Nuclear Receptors: From Evolution to Human Disease,” Nuclear Receptor Research, vol. 5, Article ID 101366, 3 pages, 2018. doi:10.11131/2018/101366