Identification of two vitamin D response elements in the rat osteopontin gene

Amy Lee Ridall, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Studies to elucidate the function of vitamin D have demonstrated an important role in regulating bone-related cells, including osteoblasts and osteoclasts. A seemingly paradoxical observation is that 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$, the active metabolite of vitamin D, stimulates bone resorption, yet regulates transcription of genes expressed by osteoblasts. One mechanism that could explain these actions is the upregulation of transcription of osteoblast-specific genes. These gene products could then act as effectors to influence osteoclastic activity. We hypothesized that molecular signals could be deposited directly into the mineralized matrix in the form of noncollagenous proteins, such as osteopontin (OPN). The structure, biosynthesis and localization of OPN suggest that it could function to mediate the molecular "cross talk" between osteoblasts and osteoclasts in response to 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$. To begin to address this hypothesis, elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of action involved in the transactivation of OPN by 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$ is essential. In the present study, the rat opn gene was isolated and characterized. Functional analysis by transient transfection of the 5$\sp\prime$ flanking sequences of the rat opn gene fused to the luciferase gene demonstrated that OPN is transcriptionally upregulated by 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$, mediated through two vitamin D response elements (VDRE). Both proximal and distal VDREs are structurally similar (two imperfect direct repeats separated by a 3 nucleotide spacer) and bind protein complexes that include the VDR and retinoid-X receptor (RXR). Isolated VDRE expression constructs produce functional activity of equivalent magnitude of responsiveness to 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$. However, expression constructs containing either VDRE and at least 200 bp of 5$\sp\prime$ and 3$\sp\prime$ flanking sequence demonstrated that the distal VDRE produces an amplitude of response significantly higher than the proximal VDRE. We conclude that the transcriptional upregulation of the opn gene by 1,25(OH)$\sb2$D$\sb3$ involves the transactivation of two VDREs, while maximal responsiveness requires interaction of the VDREs with additional cis-elements contained in the 5$\sp\prime$ sequence.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Ridall, Amy Lee, "Identification of two vitamin D response elements in the rat osteopontin gene" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9532508.