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J Invest Dermatol. 2006 Feb;126(2):305-14.

The distal and proximal regulatory regions of the involucrin gene promoter have distinct functions and are required for in vivo involucrin expression.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio 44106-4970, USA.

Abstract

Involucrin is a marker of human keratinocyte differentiation. Previous studies show that the human involucrin gene promoter has two distinct regulatory regions - the proximal regulatory region (PRR) and the distal regulatory region (DRR). To study the role of these regions in vivo, we have constructed human involucrin promoter transgenic mice and monitored the impact of specific promoter mutations on involucrin gene expression. In this study, we monitor the impact of specific mutations on expression in a range of surface epithelia. We begin by confirming previous observations made in footpad epidermis by showing that the full-length involucrin promoter drives differentiation-appropriate expression in other surface epithelia, including epidermis, cervix, and esophagus. We further show that mutation of the activator protein AP1-5 site in the DRR completely eliminates transgene expression in all of these tissues. In contrast, mutation of the DRR Sp1 site reduces overall expression, but does not alter the differentiation dependence. Additional studies identify a DRR immediate suprabasal element (ISE). Deletion of the ISE results in a loss of transgene expression in the immediate suprabasal layers. Our studies also indicate that the PRR is important for appropriate transgene expression. Mutation of a PRR C/EBP (CCAAT enhancer binding protein) transcription factor binding site results in patchy/discontinuous expression. These studies suggest that AP1, Sp1, and C/EBP transcription factors are required for appropriate differentiation-dependent involucrin expression, and that the mechanism of regulation is similar in most surface epithelia.

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