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A novel human glucocorticoid receptor SNP results in increased transactivation potential


Glucocorticoids are one of the most widely used therapeutics in the treatment of a variety of inflammatory disorders. However, it is known that there are variable patient responses to glucocorticoid treatment; there are responders and non-responders, or those that need higher dosages. Polymorphisms in the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) have been implicated in this variability. In this study, ninety-seven volunteers were surveyed for polymorphisms in the human GR-alpha (hGRα), the accepted biologically active reference isoform. One isoform identified in our survey, named hGR DL-2, had four single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), one synonymous and three non-synonymous, and a four base pair deletion resulting in a frame shift and early termination to produce a 743 amino acid putative protein. hGR DL-2 had a decrease in transactivation potential of more than 90%. Upon further analysis of the individual SNPs and deletion, one SNP, A829G, which results in a lysine to glutamic acid amino acid change at position 277, was found to increase the transactivation potential of hGR more than eight times the full-length reference. Furthermore, the hGRα-A829G isoform had a differential hyperactive response to various exogenous steroids. Increasing our knowledge as to how various SNPs affect hGR activity may help in understanding the unpredictable patient response to steroid treatment, and is a step towards personalizing patient care.

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