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J Biol Chem. 2011 Jan 7;286(1):542-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.145664. Epub 2010 Oct 28.

Characterization of promoter elements regulating the expression of the human neurotensin/neuromedin N gene.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas 77555, USA.


Expression of the gene encoding neurotensin/neuromedin N (NT/N) is mostly limited to the brain and specialized enteroendocrine N cells in the distal small intestine. We have identified key regulatory elements in the promoter region that are involved in human NT/N (hNT/N) gene expression in the novel human endocrine cell line, BON, which resembles intestinal N cells in several important aspects including NT/N precursor protein processing, ratios of different NT/N mRNA isoforms, and high levels of constitutive expression of the NT/N gene. In this study, we demonstrated multiple cis-regulatory elements including a proximal region containing a cAMP-responsive element (CRE)/AP-1-like element that binds both the AP-1 and CRE-binding protein (CREB)/ATF proteins (c-Jun, ATF-1, ATF-2, JunD, and CREB). Similar to the rat NT/N gene, this region is critical for constitutive hNT/N gene expression. Moreover, we identified a novel region that binds the orphan hormone receptor, NR2F2. We have demonstrated that the C terminus of NR2F2 strongly represses hNT/N transcription, whereas an N-terminal domain antagonizes this repressive effect. Regulation of NT/N expression by NR2F2 may have important consequences for lipid metabolism. We speculate that a complex interplay between the proximal CRE/AP-1-like motif and NR2F2 binding region exists to regulate hNT/N expression, which is critical for the high level of constitutive expression of NT/N in enteroendocrine cells. Finally, the BON cell line provides a unique model to characterize the factors regulating expression of the hNT/N gene and to better understand the mechanisms responsible for terminal differentiation of the N cell lineage in the gut.

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