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This research was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. You, X., Guo, Z., Cheng, F., Yi, B., Yang, F., Liu, X., Zhu, N., Zhao, X., Yan, G., Ma, X., & Sun J.. Transcriptional up-regulation of relaxin-3 by Nur77 attenuates -adrenergic agonist–induced apoptosis in cardiomyocytes. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2018; 293(36):14001-14011. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


The relaxin family peptides have been shown to exert several beneficial effects on the heart, including anti-apoptosis, anti-fibrosis, and anti-hypertrophy activity. Understanding their regulation might provide new opportunities for therapeutic interventions, but the molecular mechanism(s) coordinating relaxin expression in the heart remain largely obscured. Previous work demonstrated a role for the orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 in regulating cardiomyocyte apoptosis. We therefore investigated Nur77 in the hopes of identifying novel relaxin regulators. Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) data indicated that ectopic expression of orphan nuclear receptor Nur77 markedly increased the expression of latexin-3 (RLN3), but not relaxin-1 (RLN1), in neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes (NRVMs). Furthermore, we found that the -adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (ISO) markedly stimulated RLN3 expression, and this stimulation was significantly attenuated in Nur77 knockdown cardiomyocytes and Nur77 knockout hearts. We showed that Nur77 significantly increased RLN3 promoter activity via specific binding to the RLN3 promoter, as demonstrated by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immuno-precipitation (ChIP) assays. Furthermore, we found that Nur77 overexpression potently inhibited ISO-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, whereas this protective effect was significantly attenuated in RLN3 knockdown cardiomyocytes, suggesting that Nur77-induced RLN3 expression is an important mediator for the suppression of cardiomyocyte apoptosis. These findings show that Nur77 regulates RLN3 expression, therefore suppressing apoptosis in the heart, and suggest that activation of Nur77 may represent a useful therapeutic strategy for inhibition of cardiac fibrosis and heart failure. © 2018 You et al.

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