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J Biol Chem. 2006 Aug 25;281(34):24138-48. Epub 2006 Jun 23.

Identification of common transcriptional regulatory elements in interleukin-17 target genes.

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  • 1Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York 14214, USA.


Interleukin (IL)-17 is the founding member of a novel family of inflammatory cytokines. Although produced by T cells, IL-17 activates genes and signals typical of innate immune mediators such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha and IL-1beta. Most IL-17 target genes characterized to date are cytokines or neutrophil-attractive chemokines. Our recent microarray studies identified an acute phase response gene, 24p3/lipocalin 2, as a novel IL-17-induced gene. Here we describe a detailed analysis of the 24p3 promoter. We find that, unlike cytokine or chemokine gene target genes, 24p3 is regulated primarily at the level of transcription rather than mRNA stability and that synergy between IL-17 and TNFalpha occurs at the level of the 24p3 promoter. Two key transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) were identified, corresponding to NF-kappaB and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP). Deletion of either site eliminated 24p3 promoter activity in response to IL-17. These findings were strikingly similar to the IL-6 promoter, where IL-17-mediated regulation of both NF-kappaB and C/EBP is essential. To determine whether joint use of NF-kappaB and C/EBP is common to all IL-17 target genes, we performed a computational analysis on 18 well documented IL-17 target promoters to assess statistical enrichment of specific TFBSs. Indeed, NF-kappaB and C/EBP sites were over-represented in these genes, as were AP1 and OCT1 sites. Moreover, these promoters fell into three definable subcategories based on TFBS location and usage. Analysis of IL-17 target gene regulation is key for understanding this important host-defense molecule and also contributes to an understanding of upstream signaling mechanisms used by IL-17, either alone or in concert with TNFalpha.

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