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We report the full genomic organization of the human gene for the corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) receptor type 1 (CRFR1), with complete mapping of exons 1-14. The 5' flanking region (2.4 kb) of the gene encoding for human CRFR1 was isolated, sequenced, and characterized. Two major transcriptional start sites were determined at -265 and -238, relative to the ATG start site (+1). Transient expression of constructs containing sequentially deleted 5'-flanking sequences of CRFR1 fused to luciferase, revealed the minimal promoter sequence 370 bp in size, as shown by assays in neuroblastoma (SH-5YSY), teratocarcinoma (NT2), and adenocarcinoma (MCF 7) cell lines. CRF and UCN markedly increased promoter activity during transient CRFR1 expression studies. Similarly, CRF and UCN up-regulate the endogenous CRFR1 at the mRNA level in NT2 and MCF 7 cells. To dissect further the mechanisms involved, we have used primary myometrial cells transfected with the CRFR1 promoter. CRF and UCN increased the promoter activity, an effect blocked by protein kinase (PK)A and PKC inhibitors. Both CRF and UCN cause a positive feedback effect in primary cultures of human pregnant myometrial cells, by increasing mRNA expression of CRFR1. This effect appears to be dependent on activation of both PKA and PKC by CRF, whereas UCN's effect was mediated solely via PKC activation. Collectively, our data suggest that the CRFR1 gene is under the influence of both CRF and UCN, acting via distinct signaling pathways to create a positive feedback loop and regulate further the transcription of the receptor.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





3971 - 3983


5' Untranslated Regions, Amino Acid Sequence, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone, Gene Expression Regulation, Humans, Molecular Sequence Data, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone, Signal Transduction, Transcription, Genetic, Urocortins