Recent studies indicate that the transcriptional activity of steroid receptors is governed by proteins called nuclear receptor coactivators. Using immunocytochemistry, we found that on the day of birth (postnatal d 0) males express higher levels of the nuclear receptor coactivator, cAMP response element binding protein-binding protein (CBP), within the ventromedial hypothalamus, medial preoptic area, and arcuate nucleus. Using Western immunoblots, we confirmed that males have higher levels of CBP on postnatal d 0, 1, and 5; however, there was no sex difference on postnatal d 11. To examine the functional role of CBP, we infused oligodeoxynucleotides that were antisense to CBP mRNA or a scrambled sequence as a control into the hypothalamus of female rats on postnatal d 0, 1, and 2. On postnatal d 1, all rats were injected with 100 μg testosterone propionate to both masculinize (increase male) and defeminize (decrease female) sexual behavior. Rats were ovariectomized in adulthood and tested for adult sexual behavior. Neonatal CBP antisense oligodeoxynucleotides treatment interfered with the defeminizing, but not the masculinizing, actions of testosterone. These results indicate that CBP expression in developing rat brain is sexually dimorphic and an important modulator for steroid hormone action.
Auger, A.P., Perrot-Sinal, T.S., Auger, C.J., Ekas, L.A., Tetel, M.J. and McCarthy, M.M. Expression of the nuclear receptor coactivator, CREB-binding protein, is sexually dimorphic and modulates sexual differentiation of neonatal rat brain. Endocrinology 143: 3009-3016, 2002.