COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE

Characterization of a negative retinoic acid response element in the murine Oct4 promoter

J Schoorlemmer, A van Puijenbroek, M van Den Eijnden, L Jonk, C Pals, W Kruijer
Molecular and Cellular Biology 1994, 14 (2): 1122-36
8289793
Expression of Oct4 in embryonic stem cells is controlled by a distal upstream stem cell-specific enhancer that is deactivated during retinoic acid (RA)-induced differentiation by an indirect mechanism not involving binding of RA receptors (H. Okazawa, K. Okamoto, F. Ishino, T. Ishino-Kaneko, S. Takeda, Y. Toyoda, M. Muramatsu, and H. Hamada, EMBO J. 10:2997-3005, 1991). Here we report that in RA-treated P19 embryonal carcinoma cells the Oct4 promoter is also subject to negative regulation by RA. The minimal Oct4 promoter sequence mediating repression consists of a promoter-proximal sequence containing a GC-rich SP1 consensus-like sequence and several hormone response element half-sites that can be arranged into direct repeats with different spacing. The GC box binds a nuclear factor that is invariably present in undifferentiated and RA-treated differentiated P19 cells. By contrast, the hormone response element-containing sequence binds factors that are induced following RA treatment. Mutational analysis and competition experiments show that the functional entity binding the RA-induced factor is a direct repeat sequence with a spacing of one nucleotide, previously shown to be a binding site for COUP transcription factors (COUP-TFs). Cotransfected orphan receptors COUP-TF1, ARP-1, and EAR-2 were able to repress the activity of Oct4 promoter-driven reporters in P19 EC cells, albeit with different efficiencies. Furthermore, the negative transcriptional effect of COUP-TFs is dominant over the activating effect of the Oct4 embryonic stem cell-specific enhancer. These results show that negative regulation of Oct4 expression during RA-induced differentiation of embryonic stem cells is controlled by two different mechanisms, including deactivation of the embryonic stem cell-specific enhancer and promoter silencing by orphan nuclear hormone receptors.

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