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J Biol Chem. 1996 Mar 22;271(12):6881-8.

Transcription of the lung-specific surfactant protein C gene is mediated by thyroid transcription factor 1.

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  • 1Division of Pulmonary Biology, Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio 45229-3039, USA.


Surfactant protein C (SP-C) is expressed in alveolar Type II epithelial cells of the lung. In order to determine the mechanism(s) that regulate gene transcription, we have analyzed the activation of the murine SP-C promoter in mouse lung epithelial cells (MLE cells) and in HeLa cells after co-transfection with a vector expressing rat thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1). TTF-1 transactivated SP-C-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase constructs containing -13 kilobase pairs to -320 base pairs (bp) of the 5 flanking region of the SP-C gene. Essential cis-acting elements were functionally localized to between -320 and -180 bp from the start of transcription by transfection analysis. Five DNase-protected regions, indicating multiple protein-DNA interactions within the -320 bp TTF-1-responsive region of the SP-C gene, were identified by DNase footprint analysis. A 40-bp segment of SP-C DNA from -197 to -158 linked to a heterologous promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase construct activated expression after co-transfection with CMV-TTF-1 in HeLa and MLE cells. The -197 to -158 segment contained two consensus TTF-1 sites, which were specifically identified as TTF-1 binding sites by gel retardation and antibody supershift with MLE cell nuclear extracts and purified TTF-1 homeodomain protein. Site-specific mutagenesis of either of the TTF-1 binding sites completely blocked activation by TTF-1, indicating both sites are required for TTF stimulation of SP-C transcription.

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