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

Upstream stimulatory factor, a basic-helix-loop-helix-zipper protein, regulates the activity of the alpha-glycoprotein hormone subunit gene in pituitary cells.

In an effort to determine whether basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins are important in pituitary-specific expression of the alpha-glycoprotein hormone subunit gene, we examined the effect of the dominant negative HLH protein, Id, on the activity of the alpha-subunit gene promoter in pituitary cells. Id over-expression reduces the expression of alpha-subunit reporter genes in either alpha T3-1 gonadotrope-derived or alpha TSH thyrotrope-derived cells. A deletion fragment containing nucleotides from -131 to +44 of the human alpha-subunit promoter is inhibited to a similar degree as a -244 to +44 fragment in alpha T3-1 cells. Nuclear proteins in alpha T3-1 cells bind two potential bHLH protein binding sites (E-boxes, alpha EB1 and alpha EB2) present in this fragment but not to mutations that specifically alter only these sequences. An antibody-specific for upstream stimulatory factor, a widely expressed bHLH-leucine zipper protein, is able to inhibit factor binding to the alpha EB2 sequences but not the alpha EB1 site. Mutating the alpha EB1 element of the alpha-subunit promoter decreases basal activity of this promoter to about 42% of control levels in alpha T3-1 cells. A mutation that abolishes upstream stimulatory factor binding, either alone or in combination with the alpha EB1 mutation, reduces basal activity of the promoter to approximately 21% of control levels in alpha T3-1 cells and abolishes the decrease in promoter activity seen when Id is overexpressed. These results demonstrate that the bHLH family of proteins are important regulators of alpha-subunit gene expression in pituitary cells.[1]


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