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Mol Biol Cell. Feb 1997; 8(2): 313–323.
PMCID: PMC276082

The nfkb1 promoter is controlled by proteins of the Ets family.


The gene encoding NFKB1 is autoregulated, responding to NF-kappa B/Rel activation through NF-kappa B binding sites in its promoter, which also contains putative sites for Ets proteins. One of the Ets sites, which we refer to as EBS4, is located next to an NF-kappa B/Rel binding site, kB3, which is absolutely required for activity of the promoter in Jurkat T cells in response to activation by phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), PMA/ionomycin, or the Tax protein from human T cell leukemia virus type I. We show that EBS4 is, required for the full response of the nfkb1 promoter to PMA or PMA/ionomycin in Jurkat cells. EBS4 is bound by Ets-1, Elf-1, and other species. Overexpression of Ets-1 augments the response to PMA/ionomycin and this is reduced by mutation of EBS4. Elf-1 has less effect in conjunction with PMA/ionomycin, but by itself activates the promoter 12-fold. This activation is only partly affected by mutation of EBS4, and a mutant promoter that binds Ets-1, but not Elf-1, at the EBS4 site responds to PMA/ionomycin as efficiently as the wild-type. Ets proteins may be responsible for fine-tuning the activity of the nfkb1 gene in a cell-type-specific manner.

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