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J Biol Chem. 2002 Mar 15;277(11):8989-98. Epub 2002 Jan 4.

Cloning and characterization of the human heparanase-1 (HPR1) gene promoter: role of GA-binding protein and Sp1 in regulating HPR1 basal promoter activity.

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  • 1Department of General Surgery and the Division of Cardiovascular Diseases and Critical Care, Department of Medicine, Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois 60612, USA.


Heparanase-1 (HPR1) is an endoglycosidase that specifically degrades the heparan sulfate chains of proteoglycan, a component of blood vessel walls and the extracellular matrix. Recent studies demonstrated that HPR1 expression is increased in a variety of malignancies and may play a critical role in tumor metastases. The HPR1 gene and its genomic structure have been recently cloned and characterized. To understand the mechanisms of HPR1 gene expression and regulation, we first mapped the transcription start site of the HPR1 gene and found that HPR1 mRNA was transcribed from the nucleotide position 101 bp upstream of the ATG codon. A 3.5-kb promoter region of the HPR1 gene was cloned. Sequence analysis revealed that the TATA-less, GC-rich promoter of the HPR1 gene belongs to the family of housekeeping genes. This 3.5-kb promoter region exhibited strong promoter activity in two thyroid tumor cell lines. Truncation analysis of the HPR1 promoter identified a minimal 0.3-kb region that had strong basal promoter activity. Truncation and mutational analysis of the HPR1 promoter revealed three Sp1 sites and four Ets-relevant elements (ERE) significantly contributing to basal HPR1 promoter activity. Binding to the Sp1 sites by Sp1 and to the ERE sites by GA-binding protein (GABP) was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assay and competition and supershift electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Cotransfection of Sp- and GABP-deficient Drosophila SL-2 cells with the HPR1 promoter-driven luciferase construct plus the expression vector encoding the Sp1, Sp3, or GABP gene induced luciferase gene expression. Mutation or truncation of the Sp1 or ERE sites reduced luciferase expression in both SL-2 cells and thyroid tumor cell lines. Coexpression of GABPalpha/beta and Sp1 or Sp3 further increased luciferase reporter gene expression. Our results collectively suggest that Sp1 cooperates with GABP to regulate HPR1 promoter activity.

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