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Nucleic Acids Res. 2001 Mar 1;29(5):1251-60.

Pituitary Ets-1 and GABP bind to the growth factor regulatory sites of the rat prolactin promoter.

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Department of Biochemistry, Program in Molecular Biology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 4200 East Ninth Avenue, Box B-151, Denver, CO 80262, USA.


Ets factors play a critical role in oncogenic Ras- and growth factor-mediated regulation of the proximal rat prolactin (rPRL) promoter in pituitary cells. The rPRL promoter contains two key functional Ets binding sites (EBS): a composite EBS/Pit-1 element located at -212 and an EBS that co-localizes with the basal transcription element (BTE, or A-site) located at -96. Oncogenic Ras exclusively signals to the -212 site, which we have named the Ras response element (RRE); whereas the response of multiple growth factors (FGFs, EGF, IGF, insulin and TRH) maps to both EBSs. Although Ets-1 and GA binding protein (GABP) have been implicated in the Ras and insulin responses, respectively, the precise identity of the pituitary Ets factors that specifically bind to the RRE and BTE sites remains unknown. In order to identify the Ets factor(s) present in GH4 and GH3 nuclear extracts (GH4NE and GH3NE) that bind to the EBSs contained in the RRE and BTE, we used EBS-RRE and BTE oligonucleotides in electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs), antibody supershift assays, western blot analysis of partially purified fractions and UV-crosslinking studies. EMSAs, using either the BTE or EBS-RRE probes, identified a specific protein-DNA complex, designated complex A, which contains an Ets factor as determined by oligonucleotide competition studies. Using western blot analysis of GH3 nuclear proteins that bind to heparin-Sepharose, we have shown that Ets-1 and GABP, which are MAP kinase substrates, co-purify with complex A, and supershift analysis with specific antisera revealed that complex A contains Ets-1, GABPalpha and GABPbeta1. In addition, we show that recombinant full-length Ets-1 binds equivalently to BTE and EBS-RRE probes, while recombinant GABPalpha/beta preferentially binds to the BTE probe. Furthermore, comparing the DNA binding of GH4NE containing both Ets-1 and GABP and HeLa nuclear extracts devoid of Ets-1 but containing GABP, we were able to show that the EBS-RRE preferentially binds Ets-1, while the BTE binds both GABP and Ets-1. Finally, UV-crosslinking experiments with radiolabeled EBS-RRE and BTE oligonucleotides showed that these probes specifically bind to a protein of approximately 64 kDa, which is consistent with binding to Ets-1 (54 kDa) and/or the DNA binding subunit of GABP, GABPalpha (57 kDa). These studies show that endogenous, pituitary-derived GABP and Ets-1 bind to the BTE, whereas Ets-1 preferentially binds to the EBS-RRE. Taken together, these data provide important insights into the mechanisms by which the combination of distinct Ets members and EBSs transduce differential growth factor responses.

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