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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jan 10;278(2):948-55. Epub 2002 Nov 5.

Sp1 transactivation of the TCL1 oncogene.

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Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Center for the Health Sciences, Los Angeles, California 90095-1732, USA.


Cis-regions and trans-factors controlling TCL1 oncogene expression are not known. We identified the functional TCL1 promoter by mapping four transcriptional start sites 24-30 bp downstream of a TATA box. A 424-bp fragment upstream of the major start site showed robust promoter activity comparable with SV40 in both TCL1 expressing and non-expressing cell lines. Additional constructs spanning 10 kb upstream and 20 kb downstream of the start site showed only modest increases in reporter activity indicating that TCL1 expression is primarily controlled by the promoter. Ten putative Sp1-binding sites were identified within 300 bp of the start site, and three of these specifically bound Sp1. A dose-dependent transactivation of the TCL1 promoter with Sp1 addition in Sp1-negative Drosophila SL2 cells was observed, and mutation of the three identified Sp1-binding sites significantly repressed reporter gene expression in 293T cells, confirming a key role for Sp1 in activating the TCL1 promoter in vivo. In TCL1 silent cell lines, CpG DNA methylation was rarely observed at functional Sp1 sites, and methylation of a previously reported NotI restriction site was associated with dense CpG methylation rather than endogenous TCL1 gene silencing. Together, these results indicate that Sp1 mediates transactivation of the TCL1 core promoter and that TCL1 gene silencing is not dependent on mechanisms involving Sp1 and NotI site methylation.

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