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Circ Res. 1999 May 28;84(10):1177-85.

Role of the Ets transcription factors in the regulation of the vascular-specific Tie2 gene.

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  • 1New England Baptist Bone and Joint Institute, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA.


The Tie2 gene encodes a vascular endothelium-specific receptor tyrosine kinase that is required for normal vascular development and is also upregulated during angiogenesis. The regulatory regions of the Tie2 gene that are required for endothelium-specific gene expression in vivo have been identified. However, the transcription factors required for Tie2 gene expression remain largely unknown. We have identified highly conserved binding sites for Ets transcription factors in the Tie2 promoter. Mutations in 2 particular binding sites lead to a 50% reduction in the endothelium-specific activity of the promoter. We have compared the ability of several members of the Ets family to transactivate the Tie2 promoter. Our results demonstrate that 1 of 3 distinct isoforms of the novel Ets transcription factor NERF, NERF2, is expressed in endothelial cells and can strongly transactivate the regulatory regions of the Tie2 gene in comparison to other Ets factors, which have little or no effect. NERF2 can bind to the Tie2 promoter Ets sites in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. These studies support a role for Ets factors in the regulation of vascular-specific gene expression and suggest that the novel Ets factor NERF2 may be a critical transcription factor in specifying the expression of the Tie2 gene in vascular endothelial cells.

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