In this study we have investigated the molecular mechanisms involved in hormonal induction of thyroid-specific transcription of the thyrotropin receptor (TSHr). A cyclic AMP-responsive element (CRE) has been characterized in the minimal TSHr promoter, and promoter activity shown to be also induced by thyroid transcription factor 1 (TTF-1). We here describe a cooperative effect between TTF-1 and CRE-binding protein on the TSHr promoter. Moreover we have identified a second TTF-1-binding site in the minimal promoter, which does not activate TSHr promoter activity but is required for the co-operative activation of the promoter. This report describes a new aspect of thyroid-specific gene expression, namely, how a generic extracellular signal can be interpreted in a thyroid-specific way.

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