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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 1987; 84(24): 8869–8873.
PMCID: PMC299652

Regulatory elements in the first intron contribute to transcriptional control of the human alpha 1(I) collagen gene.


Several lines of evidence have suggested that the regulation of type I collagen gene transcription is complex and that important regulatory elements reside 5' to, and within, the first intron of the alpha 1(I) gene. We therefore sequenced a 2.3-kilobase HindIII fragment that encompasses 804 base pairs of 5' flanking sequence, the first exon, and most of the first intron of the alpha 1(I) human collagen gene. A 274-base-pair intronic sequence, flanked by Ava I sites (A274), contained a sequence identical to a high-affinity decanucleotide binding site for transcription factor Sp1 and a viral core enhancer sequence. DNase I protection experiments indicated zones of protection that corresponded to these motifs. When A274 was cloned 5' to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene, driven by an alpha 1(I) collagen promoter sequence, and expression was assessed by transfection, significant orientation-specific inhibition of CAT activity was observed. This effect was most apparent in chicken tendon fibroblasts, which modulate their level of collagen synthesis in culture. We propose that normal regulation of alpha 1(I) collagen gene transcription results from an interplay of positive and negative elements present in the promoter region and within the first intron.

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