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Nucleic Acids Res. 1991 Dec 11;19(23):6419-25.

Sequence specific protein binding to and activation of the TGF-beta 3 promoter through a repeated TCCC motif.

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  • 1Laboratory of Chemoprevention, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


We have previously characterized the TGF-beta 3 promoter and shown that the activity of this promoter is highly variable in different cell types. Although the promoter contains a proximal cAMP responsive element, which is critical to basal and forskolin-induced promoter activity, this element is not responsible for the variable, cell-specific regulation of the promoter. In this paper, we identify a 25 base pair sequence in the proximal region of the TGF-beta 3 promoter that binds a novel DNA-binding protein. This region includes the sequence T-CCCTCCCTCCC, (3 x TCCC), and mutation of these T-CCC repeats inhibits protein binding. Further, we show that in the cell line A375, which we have previously shown expresses high levels of TGF-beta 3 mRNA, this region is responsible for mediating high level TGF-beta 3 promoter activity. Immediately 3' to the 3 x TCCC sequence is a consensus AP-2 binding site, however, we show that this region does not bind AP-2, and AP-2 does not transactivate the TGF-beta 3 promoter. Therefore, we provide strong evidence that high level expression of TGF-beta 3 in A375 cells results from transactivation of the TGF-beta 3 promoter by a protein that binds to a repeated TCCC motif in the promoter and suggest that this DNA-binding protein likely also regulates aspects of developmental and tissue-specific expression of this cytokine.

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