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The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Marit Bakke

Regulation of gene expression in steroidogenic cells

Marit Bakke
Department of Biomedicine, University of Bergen

Nuclear receptors have critical roles in nearly every aspect of vertebrate development and adult physiology by transducing the effects of small lipophilic hormones into transcriptional responses. Among the nuclear receptors are the steroid hormone receptors, which mediate the biological effects of steroid hormones produced in adrenals and gonads. Interestingly, the conversion of cholesterol to biologically active steroids is by itself regulated by nuclear receptors. However, these factors generally act in the absence of specific ligands and are termed "orphan receptors". In my lab we are interested in understanding the mechanisms whereby nuclear receptors integrate hormonal signals and gene expression in adrenals and gonads to gain a molecular comprehension of how steroid hormones are produced in response to various physiological demands. cAMP is an essential signaling molecule in steroidogenic cells, and during the seminar I will talk about how nuclear receptors cooperate to mediate cAMP-responsiveness of target genes. Furthermore, I will discuss how phosphorylation events affect the transcriptional capacity of a steroidogenic cell specific nuclear receptor.