Sunny Y. Yang, Shaimaa Ahmed, Somisetty V. Satheesh, Jason Matthews
The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) mediates the toxic actions of environmental contaminants, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-ρ-dioxin (TCDD), and also plays roles in vascular development, the immune response, and cell cycle regulation. The AHR repressor (AHRR) is an AHR-regulated gene and a negative regulator of AHR; however, the mechanisms of AHRR-dependent repression of AHR are unclear. In this study, we compared the genome-wide binding profiles of AHR and AHRR in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells treated for 24 h with TCDD using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next-generation sequencing (ChIP-Seq). We identified 3915 AHR- and 2811 AHRR-bound regions, of which 974 (35%) were common to both datasets. When these 24-h datasets were also compared with AHR-bound regions identified after 45 min of TCDD treatment, 67% (1884) of AHRR-bound regions overlapped with those of AHR. This analysis identified 994 unique AHRR-bound regions. AHRR-bound regions mapped closer to promoter regions when compared with AHR-bound regions. The AHRE was identified and overrepresented in AHR:AHRR-co-bound regions, AHR-only regions, and AHRR-only regions. Candidate unique AHR- and AHRR-bound regions were validated by ChIP–qPCR and their ability to regulate gene expression was confirmed by luciferase reporter gene assays. Overall, this study reveals that AHR and AHRR exhibit similar but also distinct genome-wide binding profiles, supporting the notion that AHRR is a context- and gene-specific repressor of AHR activity.