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EMBO J. Jul 1987; 6(7): 1905–1912.
PMCID: PMC553575

The human haptoglobin gene: transcriptional regulation during development and acute phase induction.


Haptoglobin is a plasma protein scarcely present in fetal but abundant in adult serum, where it is present at a concentration of approximately 150 mg/100 ml. In this paper we show by run-on experiments that the haptoglobin (Hp) gene is actively transcribed in adult but not in fetal liver nuclei. Studies with established cell lines indicate that the Hp gene is expressed in the hepatoma cells HepG2 but not in the hepatoma cell line Hep3B nor in HeLa cells. Plasmids carrying various segments of the 5' flanking region of the Hp gene fused to the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene direct CAT transcription when introduced into HepG2 but are inactive in Hep3B and in HeLa cells, thus behaving like the resident chromosomal Hp gene. Deletion analysis defines a region, upstream to the transcription initiation site, essential for cell-specific expression. The Hp gene is induced in Hep3B cells by treatment with supernatant from LPS-stimulated monocytes (SMS), in a manner mimicking the acute phase reaction. We characterize the DNA segment necessary and sufficient for cell-specific expression of the Hp-CAT constructions in HepG2 and show that the same segment is also sufficient for acute phase induction in Hep3B.

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