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Mol Endocrinol. 2002 Oct;16(10):2266-82.

A thyroid-specific far-upstream enhancer in the human sodium/iodide symporter gene requires Pax-8 binding and cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate response element-like sequence binding proteins for full activity and is differentially regulated in normal and thyroid cancer cells.

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Endocrinology Division, Veterans Affairs Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System and Department of Medicine, University of California-Los Angeles School of Medicine, Los Angeles, California 90073, USA.


The sodium/iodide symporter (NIS) gene is highly expressed in the thyroid gland and is important for the diagnosis and radioiodide therapy of differentiated thyroid cancers. We investigated a human NIS (hNIS) gene 5'-far-upstream enhancer (hNUE) (-9847 to -8968). The hNUE is TSH responsive in both FRTL-5 cells and primary normal thyroid cells, but not in human papillary thyroid cancer cells (BHP cells). The hNUE enhanced expression of the basal hNIS promoter 15-fold and required both a Pax-8 binding site and a cAMP response element (CRE)-like sequence for full activity. The hNUE activated transcription in a thyroid-selective and cAMP-dependent manner, mediated by both protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent and PKA-independent pathways. Pax-8 and two CRE-like sequence binding proteins bind to the hNUE. Supershift binding assay indicated that one of the CRE-like sequence binding protein(s) was CRE-binding protein-1, activation transcription factor-1, and/or CRE modulator, and the other was an unknown factor(s) that is absent in BHP 2-7 cells. A far-upstream enhancer is important for hNIS regulation in the thyroid. Deficient CRE-like sequence binding protein(s) that bind to the hNUE in normal thyroid cells may be responsible for reduced NIS gene expression in some thyroid carcinomas.

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