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Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


Geisel School of Medicine


Results on the subcellular localization of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) have been controversial. To determine the subcellular distribution and trafficking of the MR in living cells after binding of agonists and antagonists, we expressed a MR-green fluorescent protein (GFP) chimera in mammalian cells lacking endogenous MR. The GFP-tagged MR (GFP-MR) remained transcriptionally active, as determined in cotransfection experiments with the MR-responsive reporter, TAT3-LUC. The subcellular localization of GFP-MR was monitored by fluorescence time-lapse microscopy. In the absence of hormone, MR was present both in the cytoplasm and nucleus. Aldosterone induced a rapid nuclear accumulation of the MR. Aldosterone-bound GFP-MR was concentrated in prominent clusters within the nucleus, whereas GFP-MR did not form clusters in the absence of hormone. Similar subnuclear distribution was observed with corticosterone, another MR agonist. In the presence of the MR antagonists spironolactone or ZK91587 the rate of nuclear translocation was significantly slower and the final nuclear-to-cytoplasmic ratio in steady state was significantly lower than with aldosterone. In addition, MR antagonists did not induce formation of nuclear GFP-MR clusters. MR antagonists also were able to disrupt pre-existing nuclear clusters formed in the presence of aldosterone. GFP-MR clusters were retained in nuclear matrix preparations after in vivo crosslinking. These data strongly suggest that hormone-activated MRs accumulate in dynamic discrete clusters in the cell nucleus, and this phenomenon occurs only with transcriptionally active mineralocorticoids.

Original Citation

Fejes-Tóth G, Pearce D, Náray-Fejes-Tóth A. Subcellular localization of mineralocorticoid receptors in living cells: effects of receptor agonists and antagonists. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998;95(6):2973-2978. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.6.2973