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J Virol. 2003 Jul;77(13):7459-66.

Functional analysis of the endogenous retroviral promoter of the human endothelin B receptor gene.

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  • 1Terry Fox Laboratory, British Columbia Cancer Agency, and Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Abstract

We previously reported that the long terminal repeats (LTRs) of retroviral elements belonging to the HERV-E family contribute to the expression of the human apolipoprotein C1 (APOC1) and endothelin B receptor (EDNRB) genes by providing alternative promoters. While both LTRs were shown to promote transcription in vivo and in vitro, their respective activity and tissue specificity appeared to differ even though they shared a high degree of sequence identity. In the present study, we further characterized the promoter of the EDNRB LTR and delineated the regions and motifs required for strong activity. We confirmed the placenta-restricted expression of the LTR by transient transfections and quantitative real-time PCR and determined that the retroviral promoter contributes significantly to the level of EDNRB transcripts in placenta, where chimeric mRNAs were found to represent 15% of overall EDNRB mRNAs. Transient transfection of 5' deletion constructs in cells of placental origin identified a motif, named LPE1, between positions 111 and 122 of the EDNRB LTR necessary for transcriptional activity. Removal of this region, which contains a putative SP1 binding site, abolished promoter activity. A second enhancing region resides between positions 175 and 215 of the LTR and was termed LPE2. Interestingly, this section contained three binding sites that were not present in the APOC1 LTR due to minor nucleotide differences. The predicted motifs in the EDNRB LTR were found to likely act in symbiosis as modifications to any of the three sites reduced transcription by one-third while alterations to all three eliminated promoter activity. The results from this study illustrate how slight variations in transcriptional regulatory sequences can have a profound effect on promoter activity and demonstrate the complex regulatory effects of human endogenous retrovirus elements on human gene expression.

PMID:
12805445
PMCID:
PMC164795
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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