The hypothesis was tested that sequence diversity in pregnane X receptor (PXR) cis-regulatory regions is a significant determinant of variation in inducible and constitutive CYP3A4 expression. A combination of comparative genomics and computational algorithms was used to select regions of the human PXR promoter and intron 1 that were resequenced in the polymorphism discovery resource 24 DNA subset. PXR single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) were then genotyped in donor human livers phenotyped for CYP3A4 and multidrug resistance protein 1 mRNA and primary human hepatocytes phenotyped for basal and rifampin-inducible CYP3A4 activity. The human PXR promoter [16.9 kilobase (kb)] was significantly larger than in rodents (2.9 kb). Eighty-nine SNPs were identified in the promoter and intron 1 of PXR. The SNPs most consistently associated with CYP3A4 phenotypic measures were a 44477T>C(-1359) promoter SNP (in linkage disequilibrium with SNP 463970, a 6-base pair deletion in intron 1a, and SNP 46551, a C nucleotide insertion in intron 1b); SNP 63396C>T in intron 1 (in linkage disequilibrium with SNP 63704A>G, a 63813(CAAA)(CA) variable repeat, and SNP 65104T>C); and SNP 56348C>A, SNP 69789A>G, and SNP 66034T>C. Donor livers with the variant PXR alleles had altered hepatic expression of PXR targets compared with livers with PXR wild-type alleles. These results identified PXR promoter and intron 1 SNPs associated with PXR target gene expression (CYP3A4) in donor livers and cultured hepatocytes and that a striking number of the linked intron 1 SNPs will affect putative binding sites for hepatic nuclear factor 3beta (FOXA2), a transcription factor linked with PXR expression.
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