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Cytokine. 2001 Jun 21;14(6):316-23.

Functional analysis of linker-scan mutants spanning the -376, -308, -244, and -238 polymorphic sites of the TNF-alpha promoter.

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Department of Rheumatology, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) promoter polymorphisms have been linked to a large number of diseases but studies examining the possible direct functional effects of these polymorphisms have been contradictory. Previous studies compared TNF-alpha promoter constructs containing single nucleotide changes. We have now made a series of mutant constructs in which regions of the TNF-alpha promoter containing suspected functional single nucleotide polymorphisms, including -376, -308, -244 and -238, were replaced by a 10 bp linker scan sequence. These constructs were transiently transfected into the T cell line Jurkat, the B cell line Raji, and the monocytic cell line U937, and tested for basal and induced transcriptional activity. Mutant constructs covering both the -308 and -376 polymorphisms showed no significant differences in either basal or induced transcriptional activity. Constructs covering the -244/-238 region showed a small increase in basal activity in the U937 cell line. These results indicate (i) that the -308 and -376 regions are of no functional relevance for TNF-alpha promoter transcription, and (ii) that the -244/-238 region does not influence transcription in some cell lines but may have some role in transcription in others.

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