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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jan 19;276(3):1881-8. Epub 2000 Oct 18.

Transcription factors Zic1 and Zic2 bind and transactivate the apolipoprotein E gene promoter.

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Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, 28049 Madrid, Spain.


We have used the yeast one-hybrid system to identify transcription factors that bind to specific sequences in proximal regions of the apolipoprotein E gene promoter. The sequence between -163 and -124, that has been previously defined as a functional promoter element, was used as a bait to screen a human brain cDNA library. Ten cDNA clones that encoded portions of the human Zic1 (five clones) and Zic2 (five clones) transcription factors were isolated. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays confirmed the presence of a binding site for Zic1 and Zic2 in the -136/-125 region. Displacement of binding with oligonucleotides derived from adjacent sequences within the APOE promoter revealed the existence of two additional Zic-binding sequences in this promoter. These sequences were identified by electrophoretic mobility shift assays and mutational analysis in regions -65/-54 and -185/-174. Cotransfection of Zic1 and Zic2 expression vector and different APOE promoter-luciferase reporter constructs in U87 glioblastoma cell line showed that the three binding sites partially contributed to the trans-stimulation of the luciferase reporter. Ectopic expression of Zic1 and Zic2 in U87 cells also trans-stimulated the expression of the endogenous gene, increasing the amount of apolipoprotein E produced by glial cells. These data indicate that Zic proteins might contribute to the transcriptional activity of the apolipoprotein E gene and suggest that apolipoprotein E could mediate some of the developmental processes in which Zic proteins are involved.

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