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

Transcriptional activation of the alpha1(I) procollagen gene and up-regulation of alpha1(I) and alpha1(III) procollagen messenger RNA in dermal fibroblasts from tight skin 2 mice.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the levels of expression of type I and type III collagen genes in dermal fibroblasts from tight skin 2 (Tsk2) and normal mice and to examine the transcriptional regulation of the alpha1(I) procollagen gene (COL1A1) in these cells. METHODS: Dermal fibroblasts from Tsk2 mice and from normal age- and sex-matched control mice were studied. Steady-state levels of alpha1(I) and alpha1(III) procollagen messenger RNA (mRNA) were evaluated by Northern and dot-blot hybridization analyses. The transcriptional regulation of COL1A1 was examined by transient transfection experiments with deletion constructs containing portions of the COL1A1 promoter ligated to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene. To identify DNA binding proteins that interact with regulatory elements within the COL1A1 promoter, gel mobility shift assays were performed with nuclear extracts prepared from normal and Tsk2 dermal fibroblasts. RESULTS: Synthesis of collagen was almost 100% higher in Tsk2 dermal fibroblasts than in control fibroblasts. Up-regulation of mRNA for 2 extracellular matrix proteins was observed in the Tsk2 dermal fibroblasts compared with the normal cells: the alpha1(I) procollagen mRNA steady-state levels were 50% higher, and those of the alpha1(III) procollagen mRNA 100% higher, in Tsk2 cells. The results of transient transfection experiments with COL1A1 promoter constructs demonstrated that the elevated levels of alpha1(I) collagen mRNA in Tsk2 cells were largely due to increased transcriptional activity of the corresponding gene. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays performed with a probe encompassing a relevant COL1A1 promoter region revealed increased DNA-protein binding activities in nuclear extracts prepared from Tsk2 fibroblasts compared with normal fibroblasts. Competition experiments using consensus Spl and nuclear factor 1 (NF-1) oligonucleotides and supershift experiments using anti-Sp1 and anti-NF-1 antibodies indicated that at least 2 transcription factors, Sp1 and NF-1, or their homologs are involved in the up-regulated transcriptional activity of the COL1A1 promoter in Tsk2 fibroblasts. CONCLUSION: Dermal fibroblasts from Tsk2 mice display increased collagen synthesis and up-regulation of alpha1(I) and alpha1(III) procollagen mRNA in vitro. The data also directly demonstrate the transcriptional activation of COL1A1 in dermal fibroblasts from Tsk2 mice and suggest that the transcription factors Sp1 and NF-1 or their homologs play an important role in the upregulated expression of this gene in Tsk2 fibroblasts. These findings are similar to those described for fibroblasts from humans with systemic sclerosis and validate the use of Tsk2 as a model for the study of the connective tissue alterations in this disease.[1]


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