Transcriptional analysis of liver-specific expression and differential interleukin-6 response of rat kininogen genes

Huei-Mei Chen, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Analyses of rat T1 kininogen gene/chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (T1K/CAT) constructs revealed two regions important for tissue-specific and induced regulation of T1 kininogen. Although the T1 kininogen gene is inducible by inflammatory cytokines, a highly homologous K kininogen gene is minimally responsive. Moreover, the basal expression of a KK/CAT construct was 5- to 7-fold higher than that of the analogous T1K/CAT construct. To examine the molecular basis of this differential regulation, a series of promoter swapping experiments was carried out. Our transfection results showed that at least two regions in the K kininogen gene are important for its high basal expression: a distal 19-bp region (C box) constituted a binding site for CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP) family proteins and a proximal 66-bp region contained two adjacent binding sites for hepatocyte nuclear factor-3 (HNF-3). The distal HNF-3 binding site from the K kininogen promoter demonstrated a stronger affinity than that from the T1 kininogen promoter. Since C/EBP and HNF-3 are highly enriched in the liver and known to enhance transcription of liver-specific genes, differential binding affinities of these factors accounted for the higher basal expression of the K kininogen gene. In contrast to the K kininogen C box, the T1 kininogen C box does not bind C/EBP presumably due to their two-nucleotide divergence. This sequence divergence, however, converts it to a consensus binding sequence for two IL-6-inducible transcription factors--IL-6 response element binding protein and acute-phase response factor. To functionally determine whether C box sequences are important for their differential acute-phase response, T1 and K kininogen C boxes were swapped and analyzed after transfection into Hep3B cells. Our results showed that the T1 kininogen C box is indeed one of the IL-6 response elements in T1 kininogen promoter. Furthermore, its function can be modulated by a 5$\sp\prime$-adjacent C/EBP-binding site (B box) whose mutation significantly reduced the overall induced activity. Moreover, this B box is the target site for binding and transactivation of another IL-6 inducible transcription factor C/EBP$\delta.$ Evolutionary divergence of a few critical nucleotides can either lead to subtle changes in the binding affinities of a given transcription factor or convert a binding sequence for a constitutive factor to a site recognized by an inducible factor. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Chen, Huei-Mei, "Transcriptional analysis of liver-specific expression and differential interleukin-6 response of rat kininogen genes" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9332761.