Analysis of a human placental lactogen gene promoter

Susan LeNoir Fitzpatrick, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Human placental lactogen (hPL) and human growth hormone (hGH) comprise a multigene family that share $>$90% nucleic acid sequence homology including 500 bp of 5$\sp\prime$ flanking sequence. Despite these similarities, hGH is produced in the anterior pituitary while hPL is expressed in the placenta. For most genes studied to date, regulation of expression occurs by alterations at the level of transcriptional initiation. Nuclear proteins bind specific DNA sequences in the promoter to regulate gene expression. In this study, the hPL$\sb3$ promoter was analyzed for DNA sequences that contribute to its expression. The interaction between the hPL$\sb3$ promoter and nuclear proteins was examined using nuclear extracts from placental and non-placental cells. To identify regulatory elements in the promoter of the hPL$\sb3$ gene, 5$\sp\prime$ deletion mutants were constructed by cleaving 1200 bp of upstream sequence with various restriction enzymes. These DNA fragments were ligated 5$\sp\prime$ to a promoterless bacterial gene chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) and transfected into JEG-3 cells, a human placental choriocarcinoma cell line. The level of CAT activity reflects the ability of the promoter mutants to activate transcription. Deletion of the sequence between $-$142 bp and $-$129 bp, relative to the start of transcription, resulted in an 8-fold decrease in CAT activity. Nuclear proteins from JEG-3, HeLa, and HepG2 (human liver cells), formed specific binding complexes with this region of the hPL$\sb3$ promoter, as shown by gel mobility shift assay. The $-$142 bp to $-$129 bp region contains a sequence similar to that of a variant binding site for the transcription factor Sp1. Sp1-like proteins were identified by DNA binding assay, in the nuclear extracts of the three cell lines. A series of G nucleotides in the hPL$\sb3$ promoter regulatory region were identified by methylation interference assay to interact with the DNA-binding proteins and the pattern obtained is similar to that for other Sp1 binding sites that have been studied. This suggests that hPL$\sb3$ may be transcriptionally regulated by Sp1 or a Sp1-like transacting factor.

Subject Area

Genetics|Biology|Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Fitzpatrick, Susan LeNoir, "Analysis of a human placental lactogen gene promoter" (1989). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9016673.