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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Role of transcription factor Sp1 and CpG methylation on the regulation of the human podocalyxin gene promoter.

BACKGROUND: Podocalyxin (podxl) is a heavily glycosylated transmembrane protein mainly found on the apical membrane of rat podocytes and also in endothelial, hematopoietic, and tumor cells. Despite of its interest no much is known about the transcriptional regulation of podxl in different cells. Thus, we aimed at studying the functional features of the 5'-regulatory region of the human Podxl gene. RESULTS: The promoter region of the human Podxl gene has been cloned and its structure and function were analyzed. The primary DNA sequence is rich in G+C and is devoid of TATA or CAAT boxes. The sequence contains recognition sites for several putative transcription factors; however, the basic promoter activity seems to rely entirely on Sp1 transcription factor since supershift analysis was positive only for this factor. The region encompassed by 66 to -111 nts conferred the minimal transcriptional activity that increases as the number of Sp1 sites augmented with the length of the promoter fragment. In Sp1-lacking insect cells the Podxl promoter constructs showed activity only if cotransfected with an Sp1 expression plasmid. Finally, mutation of the Sp1 sites reduced the promoter activity.We analyzed whether methylation of the CpG dinucleotides present in the first approximately 600 nts of the promoter region of Podxl could explain the variable rates of expression in different types of cells. Inactivation of methyltransferases by 5'-aza-2'deoxicitidine showed a dose-dependent increase in the podxl content. Moreover, in vitro methylation of the promoter constructs -111,-181 and -210 led to an almost complete reduction of the promoter activity. A correlation was found between the degree of methylation of the CpG promoter dinucleotides and the rate of podxl expression in different cell lines. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that transcriptional regulation of Podxl is supported primarily by Sp1 site(s) and that DNA-methylation of the CpG promoter islands contributes to control the tissue specific expression of podxl.[1]


  1. Role of transcription factor Sp1 and CpG methylation on the regulation of the human podocalyxin gene promoter. Butta, N., Larrucea, S., Alonso, S., Rodriguez, R.B., Arias-Salgado, E.G., Ayuso, M.S., González-Manchón, C., Parrilla, R. BMC Mol. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
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