Liver receptor homolog-1 (LRH-1; NR5A2) is an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, mainly expressed in endoderm-derived tissues and in the ovary. In ovarian granulosa and luteal cells, LRH-1 regulates the expression of genes associated with ovarian steroidogenesis. LRH-1 can be transported to transcriptionally inactive nuclear bodies after conjugation with small ubiquitin-related modifier (SUMO). In the present study, we investigated the effects of SUMO modification at five lysine residues of LRH-1 in rat granulosa cells. Lysine 289 could be conjugated with SUMO-1 in vitro, and the mutation K289R increased transcriptional activity of LRH-1, suggesting that SUMO conjugation is associated with transcription repression. Coexpression of SUMO-1 targets LRH-1 to the dot-like nuclear bodies, but the effect of lysine mutations on blocking subnuclear localization depended on the cell type. In COS-7 cells, mutation of either K173 or K289 prevented SUMO-1-mediated translocation of LRH-1 into nuclear bodies and also reduced the conjugation by SUMO-1, suggesting that K289 and K173 are two important sites involved in SUMO-1 modification. In granulosa cells, three or more altered lysine residues were required for nucleoplasm retention. This result suggests that multiple lysine residues are targets for SUMO conjugation in vivo and granulosa cells are more sensitive to SUMO-1-mediated LRH-1 localization to nuclear bodies. Nuclear body localization of LRH-1 was suppressed by forskolin and cholera toxin. Forskolin treatment obviously influences the expression of members involved in the SUMO pathway. The results obtained in the present study suggest that cAMP signaling could change the dynamic process of sumoylation and repress LRH-1 targeting to nuclear speckles in rat granulosa cells.
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