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J Nutr Biochem. 2011 Apr;22(4):344-50. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2010.03.001. Epub 2010 May 14.

Promoter analysis of the human ascorbic acid transporters SVCT1 and 2: mechanisms of adaptive regulation in liver epithelial cells.

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  • 1VA Medical Center, Long Beach, CA 90822, USA.


Ascorbic acid, the active form of vitamin C, is a vital antioxidant in the human liver, yet the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of ascorbic acid transporters [human sodium-dependent vitamin C transporters (hSVCT) 1 and 2] in liver cells are poorly understood. Therefore, we characterized the minimal promoter regions of hSVCT1 and 2 in cultured human liver epithelial cells (HepG2) and examined the effects of ascorbic acid deprivation and supplementation on activity and regulation of the transport systems. Identified minimal promoters required for basal activity were found to include multiple cis regulatory elements, whereas mutational analysis demonstrated that HNF-1 sites in the hSVCT1 promoter and KLF/Sp1 sites in the hSVCT2 promoter were essential for activities. When cultured in ascorbic acid deficient or supplemented media, HepG2 cells demonstrated significant (P<.01) and specific reciprocal changes in [(14)C]-Ascorbic acid uptake, and in hSVCT1 mRNA and protein levels as well as hSVCT1 promoter activity. However, no significant changes in hSVCT2 expression or promoter activity were observed during ascorbic acid deficient or supplemented conditions. We mapped the ascorbic acid responsive region in the hSVCT1 promoter and determined that HNF-1 sites are important for the adaptive regulation response. The results of these studies further characterize the hSVCT1 and 2 promoters establish that ascorbic acid uptake by human liver epithelial cells is adaptively regulated and show that transcriptional mechanisms via HNF-1 in the hSVCT1 promoter may, in part, be involved in this regulation.

Published by Elsevier Inc.

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