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

Transcriptional activation of human choline acetyltransferase by AP2- and NGF-induced factors.

ChAT (choline acetyltransferase) is the enzyme responsible for acetylcholine synthesis and is specifically expressed in cholinergic neurons. To further characterize the transcriptional regulation of the hCHAT (human ChAT) gene by NGF, we examined the effects upon ChAT promoter activity of a family of transcription factors which are activated by NGF and several extracellular stimuli and encoded by immediate-early genes. These include NGFI-A (Egr1, zif268), NGFI-C (Egr2), Krox-20 and NGFI-B (Nurr77). Two fragments of the hChAT gene were used for functional analysis carrying 944 bp (P1) and 4000 bp (P1 + P2) of the 5' flanking region in front of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter gene. They were transiently co-transfected with NGFI-A, NGFI-C, Krox-20 and NGFI-B expression vectors in NG108-15, SN6 and COS-1 cells. CAT activity after transfection of the p4000 ChAT-CAT reporter into both neuronal cell lines (NG108-15 and SN6 cells) was increased up to 5-fold in the presence of co-transfected NGFI-A and up to 5- and 12-fold after co-transfection of NGFI-C expression vector in NG108-15 and SN6 cells, respectively. In NG108-15 cells, dbcAMP excerted a strong enhancing activity on the transactivation properties of NGFI-C while this was not observed when cells were transfected with NGFI-A. These trans-activation effects were specific for neuronal cells. When NG108-15 cells were treated with dbcAMP in the presence of H89, a specific PKA inhibitor, the increase of transcriptional activity of NGFI-C was abolished, indicating that a signalling transduction mechanism through PKA plays a role in NGFI-C-induced trans-activation. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays showed that the sequence GCCCGGGGAG (NGFRE) located 1205 bp upstream of the first coding ATG ( E1) can bind NGFI-A but not NGFI-C. Several possibilities explaining the observed results are discussed. Finally, transfections of ChAT-CAT reporters including the P1 + P2 region or a minimal ChAT enhancer present in the P2 region in front of a heterologous promoter indicated the presence of a regulatory element which conferred AP2-dependent trans-activation with homologous as well as with heterologous promoter constructs.[1]


  1. Transcriptional activation of human choline acetyltransferase by AP2- and NGF-induced factors. Quirin-Stricker, C., Mauvais, C., Schmitt, M. Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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