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J Biol Chem. 2002 Sep 13;277(37):34589-600. Epub 2002 Jun 25.

Regulatory motifs for CREB-binding protein and Nfe2l2 transcription factors in the upstream enhancer of the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 1 gene.

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Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808, USA.


Thermogenesis against cold exposure in mammals occurs in brown adipose tissue (BAT) through mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP1). Expression of the Ucp1 gene is unique in brown adipocytes and is regulated tightly. The 5'-flanking region of the mouse Ucp1 gene contains cis-acting elements including PPRE, TRE, and four half-site cAMP-responsive elements (CRE) with BAT-specific enhancer elements. In the course of analyzing how these half-site CREs are involved in Ucp1 expression, we found that a DNA regulatory element for NF-E2 overlaps CRE2. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay and competition assays with the CRE2 element indicates that nuclear proteins from BAT, inguinal fat, and retroperitoneal fat tissue interact with the CRE2 motif (CGTCA) in a specific manner. A supershift assay using an antibody against the CRE-binding protein (CREB) shows specific affinity to the complex from CRE2 and nuclear extract of BAT. Additionally, Western blot analysis for phospho-CREB/ATF1 shows an increase in phosphorylation of CREB/ATF1 in HIB-1B cells after norepinephrine treatment. Transient transfection assay using luciferase reporter constructs also indicates that the two half-site CREs are involved in transcriptional regulation of Ucp1 in response to norepinephrine and cAMP. We also show that a second DNA regulatory element for NF-E2 is located upstream of the CRE2 region. This element, which is found in a similar location in the 5'-flanking region of the human and rodent Ucp1 genes, shows specific binding to rat and human NF-E2 by electrophoretic mobility shift assay with nuclear extracts from brown fat. Co-transfections with an Nfe2l2 expression vector and a luciferase reporter construct of the Ucp1 enhancer region provide additional evidence that Nfe2l2 is involved in the regulation of Ucp1 by cAMP-mediated signaling.

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