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J Biol Chem. 2002 Jul 19;277(29):25877-83. Epub 2002 Apr 9.

The rod cGMP-phosphodiesterase beta-subunit promoter is a specific target for Sp4 and is not activated by other Sp proteins or CRX.

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  • 1Jules Stein Eye Institute, Department of Ophthalmology, UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90095, USA.


The beta-subunit of cGMP-phosphodiesterase (beta-PDE) is a key protein in phototransduction expressed exclusively in rod photoreceptors. It is necessary for visual function and for structural integrity of the retina. beta-PDE promoter deletions showed that the -45/-23 region containing a consensus Crx-response element (CRE) was necessary for low level transcriptional activity. Overexpressed Crx modestly transactivated this promoter in 293 human embryonic kidney cells; however, mutation of CRE had no significant effect on transcription either in transfected Y79 retinoblastoma cells or Xenopus embryonic heads. Thus, Crx is unlikely to be a critical beta-PDE transcriptional regulator in vivo. Interestingly, although the beta/GC element (-59/-49) binds multiple Sp transcription factors in vitro, only Sp4, but not Sp1 or Sp3, significantly enhanced beta-PDE promoter activity. Thus, the Sp4-mediated differential activation of the beta-PDE transcription defines the first specific Sp4 target gene reported to date and implies the importance of Sp4 for retinal function. Further extensive mutagenesis of the beta-PDE upstream sequences showed no additional regulatory elements. Although this promoter lacks a canonical TATA box or Inr element, it has the (T/A)-rich beta/TA sequence located within the -45/-23 region. We found that it binds purified TBP and TFIIB in gel mobility shift assays with cooperative enhancement of binding affinity.

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