The position of the dose-response curve for steroid-regulated gene expression determines how much variation in response will accompany the normal physiological changes in circulating steroid. Over the last several years, it has become clear that the concentration of steroid hormone required for half-maximal induction or repression by a given receptor-steroid complex, which is normally called the EC50, is not constant for all responsive genes. Thus, the position of the dose-response curve can change so that a single concentration of steroid produces very different percentages of maximal activity. This, in turn, allows for the differential expression of genes by a common steroid hormone concentration during development, differentiation, and homeostasis. Here we review the variety of factors that influence the EC50 and position of the dose-response curve for steroid hormone receptors, discuss what is known about the mechanisms, and highlight promising areas for future research.
Keywords: receptor-steroid interactions, dissociation constant, Corepressors, Michaelis-Menton kinetics, Ubc9, Chaperone Proteins
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