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Agonistic and Antagonistic Effects of Progesterone Derivatives on the Transcriptional Activity of Nuclear Progesterone Receptor B in Yeast Model System

A. O. Michurina1, A. V. Polikarpova1, I. S. Levina2, L. E. Kulikova2, I. V. Zavarzin2, A. A. Guseva1, I. A. Morozov3, P. M. Rubtsov3, O. V. Smirnova1, and T. A. Shchelkunova1,a*

1Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Biology, 119899 Moscow, Russia

2Zelinsky Institute of Organic Chemistry, Russian Academy of Sciences, 117913 Moscow, Russia

3Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 119991 Moscow, Russia

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

Received September 25, 2017; Revision received November 29, 2017
Identification of progesterone selective agonists and antagonists that act through one of the nuclear progesterone receptor isoforms is of particular importance for the development of tissue-specific drugs in gynecology and anticancer therapy. Fourteen pregna-D′6- and pregna-D′3-pentarane progesterone derivatives with 16α,17α-cycloalkane groups and two progesterone 3-deoxyderivatives were examined for their ability to regulate transcriptional activity of human nuclear progesterone receptor isoform B (nPR-B) expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast. Transcriptional activity of nPR-B was measured from the expression of the β-galactosidase reporter gene with a hormone-responsible element in the promoter. Among the compounds tested, two were full progesterone agonists, four were partial agonists, one compound possessed both agonistic and antagonistic activity, one compound displayed only partial antagonistic activity, and eight compounds did not show any activity. Modifications of the pentarane structure, precisely, introduction of an additional double bound in the A or B rings and/or modification at the 6th position of progesterone, lead to a switch from the complete agonistic activity to partial agonistic or mixed activities. These modifications enable progestins to act as selective modulators of progesterone receptor. Steroids with reduced A-ring and 3-ketogroups lose their ability to regulate PR-B activity. Both 3-deoxycompounds, being selective ligands of progesterone membrane receptors, do not affect PR-B activity.
KEY WORDS: progesterone receptors, steroid, pentaranes, agonists, antagonists, reporter gene analysis, transcriptional activity, Saccharomyces cerevisiae

DOI: 10.1134/S0006297918050103