LRH-1 (liver receptor homologue-1), a transcription factor and member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, regulates the expression of its target genes, which are involved in bile acid and cholesterol homoeostasis. However, the molecular mechanisms of transcriptional control by LRH-1 are not completely understood. Previously, we identified Ku80 and Ku70 as LRH-1-binding proteins and reported that they function as co-repressors. In the present study, we identified an additional LRH-1-binding protein, ILF3 (interleukin enhancer-binding factor 3). ILF3 formed a complex with LRH-1 and the other two nuclear receptor co-activators PRMT1 (protein arginine methyltransferase 1) and PGC-1α (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator-1α). We demonstrated that ILF3, PRMT1 and PGC-1α were recruited to the promoter region of the LRH-1-regulated SHP (small heterodimer partner) gene, encoding one of the nuclear receptors. ILF3 enhanced SHP gene expression in co-operation with PRMT1 and PGC-1α through the C-terminal region of ILF3. In addition, we found that the small interfering RNA-mediated down-regulation of ILF3 expression led to a reduction in the occupancy of PGC-1α at the SHP promoter and SHP expression. Taken together, our results suggest that ILF3 functions as a novel LRH-1 co-activator by acting synergistically with PRMT1 and PGC-1α, thereby promoting LRH-1-dependent gene expression.

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