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Mol Cell Biol. 2002 Jan;22(2):412-20.

Insulin gene transcription is mediated by interactions between the p300 coactivator and PDX-1, BETA2, and E47.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee 37215, USA.


Pancreatic beta-cell-type-specific expression of the insulin gene requires both ubiquitous and cell-enriched activators, which are organized within the enhancer region into a network of protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions to promote transcriptional synergy. Protein-protein-mediated communication between DNA-bound activators and the RNA polymerase II transcriptional machinery is inhibited by the adenovirus E1A protein as a result of E1A's binding to the p300 coactivator. E1A disrupts signaling between the non-DNA-binding p300 protein and the basic helix-loop-helix DNA-binding factors of insulin's E-element activator (i.e., the islet-enriched BETA2 and generally distributed E47 proteins), as well as a distinct but unidentified enhancer factor. In the present report, we show that E1A binding to p300 prevents activation by insulin's beta-cell-enriched PDX-1 activator. p300 interacts directly with the N-terminal region of the PDX-1 homeodomain protein, which contains conserved amino acid sequences essential for activation. The unique combination of PDX-1, BETA2, E47, and p300 was shown to promote synergistic activation from a transfected insulin enhancer-driven reporter construct in non-beta cells, a process inhibited by E1A. In addition, E1A inhibited the level of PDX-1 and BETA2 complex formation in beta cells. These results indicate that E1A inhibits insulin gene transcription by preventing communication between the p300 coactivator and key DNA-bound activators, like PDX-1 and BETA2:E47.

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