Nuclear receptor (NR) interacting proteins, such as coactivators and corepressors, play a crucial role in specifying the transcriptional activity of the receptor. However, little is known about the functional features of the NR coregulators in marine invertebrates. Using the yeast two-hybrid screening method, a sea urchin oocyte cDNA library was screened for proteins that interact with the ligand-binding domain of human RXRα (hRXRα) as the bait protein in the presence of 9-cis retinoic acid. Here, we describe IQ motif containing protein D (IQCD) as an RXR-interacting coactivator. The open reading frame of Strongylocentrotus nudus IQCD (SnIQCD) cDNA contains 1464 bp encoding a protein of 487 amino acids. SnIQCD and the vertebrate IQCDs contain well-conserved C-terminal IQ motifs and coiled-coil domains. The interactions between RXRα and IQCD were confirmed by an immunoprecipitation assay and a mammal two-hybrid assay. RXRα preferentially interacted with the C-terminal half including IQ motif than the N-terminal half of SnIQCD. The coactivator interacting LXXLL motif in SnIQCD is not directly involved in the interaction with RXRα. SnIQCD overexpression increased the basal RXR transactivation of a RXR-responsive reporter gene. Furthermore, SnIQCD enhanced the transcriptional activity of RXR heterodimeric partners such as RAR, PPAR, and the steroid hormone receptor family members from mammals, teleost fish, and sea urchin. Taken together, we suggest that IQCD orthologs are able to function as transcriptional coactivators cooperating with NRs.
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