Nuclear proteins interacting with an AP-1/CRE-like promoter sequence in the human TNF-alpha gene

Christine Lee Newell, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Monocyte developmental heterogeneity is reflected at the cellular level by differential activation competence, at the molecular level by differential regulation of gene expression. LPS activates monocytes to produce tumor necrosis factor-$\alpha$ (TNF). Events occurring at the molecular level necessary for TNF regulation have not been elucidated, but depend both on activation signals and the maturation state of the cell: Peripheral blood monocytes produce TNF upon LPS stimulation, but only within the first 72 hours of culture. Expression of c-fos is associated with monocytic differentiation and activation; the fos-associated protein, c-jun, is also expressed during monocyte activation. Increased cAMP levels are associated with down regulation of macrophage function, including LPS-induced TNF transcription. Due to these associations, we studied a region of the TNF promoter which resembles the binding sites for both AP-1(fos/jun) and CRE-binding protein (or ATF) in order to identify potential molecular markers defining activation competent populations of monocytic cells. Nuclear protein binding studies using extracts from THP-1 monocytic cells stimulated with LPS, which stimulates, or dexamethasone (Dex) or pentoxyfilline (PTX), which inhibit TNF production, respectively, suggest that a low mobility doublet complex may be involved in regulation through this promoter region. PTX or Dex increase binding of these complexes equivalently over untreated cells; approximately two hours after LPS induction, the upper complex is undetectable. The upper complex is composed of ATF2 (CRE-BP1); the lower is a heterodimer of jun/ATF2. LPS induces c-jun and thus may enhance formation of jun-ATF2 complexes. The simultaneous presence of both complexes may reduce the amount of TNF transcription through competitive binding, while a loss of the upper (ATF2) and/or gain of the lower (jun-ATF2) allow increased transcription. AP-1 elements generally transduce signals involving PKC; the CRE mediates a cAMP response, involving PKA. Thus, this element has the potential of receiving signals through divergent signalling pathways. Our findings also suggest that cAMP-induced inhibition of macrophage functions may occur via down regulation of activation-associated genes through competitive binding of particular cAMP-responsive nuclear protein complexes.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Immunology

Recommended Citation

Newell, Christine Lee, "Nuclear proteins interacting with an AP-1/CRE-like promoter sequence in the human TNF-alpha gene" (1993). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9332762.