Characterization of the human tissue transglutaminase gene promoter

Shan Lu, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Transglutaminases are a family of calcium-dependent enzymes, that catalyze the covalent cross-linking of proteins by forming $\varepsilon(\gamma$-glutamyl)lysine isopeptide bonds. In order to investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating the expression of the tissue transglutaminase gene and to determine its biological functions, the goal of this research has been to clone and characterize the human tissue transglutaminase promoter. Thirteen clones of the tissue transglutaminase gene were obtained from the screening of a human placental genomic DNA library. A 1.74 Kb fragment derived from DNA located immediately upstream of the translation start site was subcloned and sequenced. Sequence analysis of this DNA fragment revealed that it contains a TATA box (TATAA), a CAAT box (GGACAAT), and a series of potential transcription factor binding sites and hormone response elements. Four regions of significant homology, a GC-rich region, a TG-rich region, an AG-rich region, and HR1, were identified by aligning 1.8 Kb of DNA flanking the human, mouse, and guinea pig tissue transglutaminase genes. To measure promoter activity, we subcloned the 1.74 Kb fragment of the tissue transglutaminase gene into a luciferase reporter vector to generate transglutaminase promoter/luciferase reporter constructs. Transfection experiments showed that this DNA segment includes a functional promoter with high constitutive activity. Deletion analysis revealed that the SP1 sites or corresponding sequences contribute to this activity. We investigated the role of DNA methylation in regulating the activity of the promoter and found that in vitro methylation of tissue transglutaminase promoter/luciferase reporter constructs suppressed their basal activity. Methylation of the promoter is inversely correlated with the expression of the tissue transglutaminase gene in vivo. These results suggest that DNA methylation may be one of the mechanisms regulating the expression of the gene. The tumor suppressor gene product p53 was also shown to inhibit the activity of the promoter, suggesting that induction of the tissue transglutaminase gene is not involved in the p53-dependent programmed cell death pathway. Although retinoids regulate the expression of the tissue transglutaminase gene in vivo, retinoid-inducible activity can not be identified in 3.7 Kb of DNA 5$\sp\prime$ to the tissue transglutaminase gene. The structure of the 5$\sp\prime$ end of the tissue transglutaminase gene was mapped. Alignment analysis of the human tissue transglutaminase gene with other human transglutaminases showed that tissue transglutaminase is the simplest member of transglutaminase superfamily. Transglutaminase genes show a conserved core of exons and introns but diverse N-terminuses and promoters. These observations suggest that key regulatory sequences and promoter elements have been appended upstream of the core transglutaminase gene to generate the diversity of regulated expression and regulated activity characteristic of the transglutaminase gene family.

Subject Area

Molecular biology

Recommended Citation

Lu, Shan, "Characterization of the human tissue transglutaminase gene promoter" (1995). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9607298.