Structural and biochemical basis for selective repression of the orphan nuclear receptor liver receptor homolog 1 by small heterodimer partner

Yong Li, Mihwa Choi, Kelly Suino, Amanda Kovach, Jennifer Daugherty, Steven A. Kliewer, H. Eric Xu

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The functional interaction between the orphan nuclear receptors small heterodimer partner (SHP) and liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1), where SHP binds to LRH-1 and represses its constitutive transcriptional activity, is crucial for regulating genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis. Here, we report structural and biochemical analyses of the LRH-1/SHP interaction. The crystal structure and modeling studies of the LRH-1 ligand-binding domain bound to either of the two LXXLL-related motifs of SHP show that the receptor undergoes conformational changes to accommodate the SHP docking and reveal key residues that determine the potency and selectivity of SHP binding. Through a combination of mutagenesis and binding studies, we demonstrate that only the second SHP LXXLL motif is required for repressing LRH-1, and this motif displays a strong preference for binding to LRH-1 over the closely related receptor steroidogeneic factor 1 (SF-1). Structural comparisons indicate that this binding selectivity is determined by residues flanking the core LXXLL motifs. These results establish a structural model for understanding how SHP interacts with LRH-1 to regulate cholesterol homeostasis and provide new insights into how nuclear receptor/coregulator selectivity is achieved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9505-9510
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 5 2005



  • Bile acids
  • Coactivators
  • Compressors
  • Steroidogeneic factor 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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