Divergent Evolution of Progesterone and Mineralocorticoid Receptors in Terrestrial Vertebrates and Fish Influences Endocrine Disruption
AbstractThere is much concern about disruption of endocrine physiology regulated by steroid hormones in humans, other terrestrial vertebrates and fish by industrial chemicals, such as bisphenol A, and pesticides, such as DDT. These endocrine-disrupting chemicals influence steroid-mediated physiology in humans and other vertebrates by competing with steroids for receptor binding sites, disrupting diverse responses involved in reproduction, development and differentiation. Here I discuss that due to evolution of the progesterone receptor (PR) and mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) after ray-finned fish and terrestrial vertebrates diverged from a common ancestor, each receptor evolved to respond to different steroids in ray-finned fish and terrestrial vertebrates. In elephant shark, a cartilaginous fish, ancestral to ray-finned fish and terrestrial vertebrates, both progesterone and 17,20b-dihydroxy-progesterone activate the PR. During the evolution of ray-finned fish and terrestrial vertebrates, the PR in terrestrial vertebrates continued responding to progesterone and evolved to weakly respond to 17,20b-dihydroxy-progesterone. In contrast, the physiological progestin for the PR in zebrafish and other ray-finned fish is 17,20b-dihydroxy-progesterone, and ray-finned fish PR responds weakly to progesterone. The MR in fish and terrestrial vertebrates also diverged to have different responses to progesterone. Progesterone is a potent agonist for elephant shark MR, zebrafish MR and other fish MRs, in contrast to progesterone's opposite activity as an antagonist for aldosterone, the physiological 2 mineralocorticoid for human MR. These different physiological ligands for fish and terrestrial vertebrate PR and MR need to be considered in applying data for their disruption by chemicals in fish and terrestrial vertebrates to each other.