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J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 10;278(41):39762-72. Epub 2003 Jul 29.

Sp1 and Sp3 transcription factors mediate interleukin-1 beta down-regulation of human type II collagen gene expression in articular chondrocytes.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biochimie du Tissu Conjonctif, Faculté de Médecine, CHU Niveau 3, Avenue de la Côte de Nacre, Caen Cedex 14032, France.


Interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) is a pleiotropic cytokine that was shown to inhibit the biosynthesis of articular cartilage components. Here we demonstrate that IL-1 beta inhibits the production of newly synthesized collagens in proliferating rabbit articular chondrocytes and that this effect is accompanied by a decrease in the steady-state levels of type II collagen mRNA. IL-1 beta down-regulates COL2A1 gene transcription through a -41/-33 bp sequence that binds a multimeric complex including Sp1 and Sp3 transcription factors. Specificity of IL-1 beta effects on COL2A1 promoter activity was demonstrated in experiments in which transfection of a wild type -50/+1 sequence of COL2A1 promoter as a decoy oligonucleotide abolished the IL-1 beta inhibition of a -63/+47 COL2A1-mediated transcription. By contrast, transfection of the related oligonucleotide harboring a targeted mutation in the -41/-33 sequence did not modify the negative effect the cytokine. Because we demonstrated previously that Sp1 was a strong activator of COL2A1 gene expression via the -63/+1 promoter region, whereas Sp3 overexpression blocked Sp1-induced promoter activity and inhibited COL2A1 gene transcription, we conclude that IL-1 beta down-regulation of that gene, as we found previously for transforming growth factor-beta 1, is mediated by an increase in the Sp3/Sp1 ratio. Moreover, IL-1 beta increased steady-state levels of Sp1 and Sp3 mRNAs, whereas it enhanced Sp3 protein expression and inhibited Sp1 protein biosynthesis. Nevertheless, IL-1 beta decreased the binding activity of both Sp1 and Sp3 to the 63-bp short COL2A1 promoter, suggesting that the cytokine exerts a post-transcriptional regulatory mechanism on Sp1 and Sp3 gene expressions. Altogether, these data indicate that modulation of Sp3/Sp1 ratio in cartilage could be a potential target to prevent or limit the tissue degradation.

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