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J Virol. 2002 Mar;76(5):2168-79.

CDP binding to multiple sites in the mouse mammary tumor virus long terminal repeat suppresses basal and glucocorticoid-induced transcription.

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Section of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, 100 W. 24th St., Austin, TX 78705, USA.


Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) is transcribed at high levels in the lactating mammary gland to ensure transmission of virus from the milk of infected female mice to susceptible offspring. We previously have shown that the transcription factor CCAAT displacement protein (CDP) is expressed in high amounts in virgin mammary gland, yet DNA-binding activity for the MMTV long terminal repeat (LTR) disappears as mammary tissue differentiates during lactation. CDP is a repressor of MMTV expression and, therefore, MMTV expression is suppressed during early mammary gland development. In this study, we have shown using DNase I footprinting and electrophoretic mobility shift assays that there are at least five CDP-binding sites in the MMTV LTR upstream of those previously described in the promoter-proximal negative regulatory element (NRE). Single mutations in two of these upstream sites (+691 or +692 and +735 relative to the first base of the LTR) reduced CDP binding to the cognate sites and elevated reporter gene expression from the full-length MMTV LTR. Combination of a mutation in the promoter-distal NRE with a mutation in the proximal NRE gave approximately additive increases in LTR-reporter gene activity, suggesting that these binding sites act independently. Mutations in several different CDP-binding sites allowed elevation of reporter gene activity from the MMTV promoter in the absence and presence of glucocorticoids, hormones that contribute to high levels of MMTV transcription during lactation by activation of hormone receptor binding to the LTR. In addition, overexpression of CDP in transient-transfection assays suppressed both basal and glucocorticoid-induced LTR-mediated transcription in a dose-dependent manner. These data suggest that multiple CDP-binding sites contribute independently to regulate binding of positive factors, including glucocorticoid receptor, to the MMTV LTR during mammary gland development.

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