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J Invest Dermatol. 1997 Apr;108(4):476-81.

All-trans-retinoic acid inhibition of Pro alpha1(I) collagen gene expression in fetal rat skin fibroblasts: identification of a retinoic acid response element in the Pro alpha1(I) collagen gene.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine, University of Vermont, Burlington 05405-0068, U.S.A.


The current study was undertaken to determine the mechanism by which the retinoid all-trans-retinoic acid regulates pro alpha1(I) collagen gene expression in fetal rat skin fibroblasts. FRS fibroblasts were stably transfected with the ColCat3.6 plasmid, which contains a portion of the 5' flanking region of the rat pro alpha1(I) collagen gene linked to a reporter gene, chloramphenicol acetyltransferase. The effect of t-RA on CAT activity was determined as a function of concentration and incubation time. Maximal inhibition of CAT activity by t-RA occurred at 10(-8) M after 48 h of treatment. Transforming growth factor-beta1 did not block the inhibitory effect of t-RA on CAT activity. Computer sequence analysis of the 3.6-kb DNA fragment that contains the promoter for the rat pro alpha1(I) collagen gene identified a direct repeat RARE sequence composed of one diverse (5'-AGTAGA-3') and one idealized (5'-GGGTCA-3') half site located at positions -1345 and -1335, respectively. Two nuclear retinoid receptors that were expressed in bacteria, retinoic acid receptor-gamma and retinoid X receptor-alpha, were found to bind specifically to a double-stranded oligonucleotide containing the RARE in gel mobility shift assays. Mutation of the idealized half-site eliminated the binding of receptor proteins to the oligonucleotide. Gel mobility shift assays using nuclear protein extracts prepared from t-RA-treated FRS fibroblasts showed that binding to the oligonucleotide containing the RARE was decreased from control values. The same assays performed with the mutated oligonucleotide resulted in only slight binding. These studies indicate that t-RA downregulates the promoter activity of the rat pro alpha1(I) collagen gene by decreasing the binding of nuclear protein to the RARE sequence in the 5' flanking region of the gene.

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