Sp1 and AP2 enhance promoter activity of the mouse GM3-synthase gene

Tian Xia, Guichao Zeng, Luoyi Gao, Robert K Yu
Gene 2005 May 23, 351: 109-18
Promoters of the glycosyltransferase genes for ganglioside synthesis are TATA-less and often have multiple binding sites for transcription factors Sp1 and AP2 in their proximal regions. However, the function of Sp1 and AP2 in the promoters has not yet been defined. Here, we cloned 5'-flanking fragments of the mouse GM3-synthase gene and assessed the promoter activity of these fragments in mouse Neuro-2a cells. This promoter is TATA-less and contains a number of potential transcription factor-binding sites. Multiple putative transcriptional initiation sites for this gene were identified, including several downstream initiation sites. We then set out to dissect the regulatory elements important for GM3-synthase promoter function. We found that a 5'-flanking 254-bp DNA fragment of the gene contained regulatory elements including two Sp1-binding and six AP2-binding sites that were essential for the basal activity of the promoter in mouse Neuro-2a cells. The effects of the individual Sp1- and AP2-binding sites on basal activity of the GM3-synthase gene were investigated. Mutations in the juxtaposed Sp1/AP2-binding site and in an AP2-binding site decreased the activity of the proximal promoter to approximately 50%. In vitro and in vivo interactions between transcription factors Sp1 and AP2 and these regulatory elements were confirmed by EMSA and the chromatin immunoprecipitation approach, respectively. Therefore, our results demonstrate that Sp1 and AP2 enhance the basal activity of the TATA-less mouse GM3-synthase promoter.

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