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Genes Dev. 1994 Jul 1;8(13):1526-37.

Multiple DNA elements are required for the growth regulation of the mouse E2F1 promoter.

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  • 1McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison 53706.


To prepare for the DNA synthesis (S) phase of the cell cycle, transcription of many genes required for nucleotide biosynthesis increases. The promoters of several of these genes contain binding sites for the E2F family of transcription factors, and, in many cases, mutation of these sites abolishes growth-regulated transcription. The RNA levels of one family member, E2F1, increase about 15-fold at the G1/S-phase boundary and expression of E2F1 in quiescent cells activates transcription from some G1/S-phase-specific promoters, suggesting that E2F1 plays a critical role in preparing cells to enter S phase. To elucidate the signal transduction pathway leading to the activation of genes required for DNA synthesis, we are investigating the mechanism by which expression of E2F1 is regulated. To determine whether levels of E2F1 mRNA are controlled by changes in promoter activity, we have cloned and characterized the mouse E2F1 promoter. Sequence analysis revealed two sets of overlapping E2F-binding sites located between -12 and -40 relative to the transcription initiation site. We show that these sites bind cellular E2F and that an E2F1 promoter fragment can be activated up to 100-fold by coexpression of E2F proteins. We also show that the activity of this E2F1 promoter fragment increases approximately 80-fold at the G1/S-phase boundary and that this activation is, in part, regulated by G0-specific repression via the E2F sites. However, the E2F sites are not sufficient to mediate growth-regulated transcriptional activity; our results indicate that multiple DNA elements are required for transcription regulation of the E2F1 promoter at the G1/S-phase boundary.

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