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Mol Endocrinol. 2004 Mar;18(3):558-73. Epub 2003 Dec 12.

Assessment of the role of activator protein-1 on transcription of the mouse steroidogenic acute regulatory protein gene.

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Department of Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas 79430, USA.


cAMP-dependent mechanisms regulate the steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein even though its promoter lacks a consensus cAMP response-element (CRE, TGACGTCA). Transcriptional regulation of the StAR gene has been demonstrated to involve combinations of DNA sequences that provide recognition motifs for sequence-specific transcription factors. We recently identified and characterized three canonical 5'-CRE half-sites within the cAMP-responsive region (-151/-1 bp) of the mouse StAR gene. Among these CRE elements, the CRE2 half-site is analogous (TGACTGA) to an activator protein-1 (AP-1) sequence [TGA(C/G)TCA]; therefore, the role of the AP-1 transcription factor was explored in StAR gene transcription. Mutation in the AP-1 element demonstrated an approximately 50% decrease in StAR reporter activity. Using EMSA, oligonucleotide probes containing an AP-1 binding site were found to specifically bind to nuclear proteins obtained from mouse MA-10 Leydig and Y-1 adrenocortical tumor cells. The integrity of the sequence-specific AP-1 element in StAR gene transcription was assessed using the AP-1 family members, Fos (c-Fos, Fra-1, Fra-2, and Fos B) and Jun (c-Jun, Jun B, and Jun D), which demonstrated the involvement of Fos and Jun in StAR gene transcription to varying degrees. Disruption of the AP-1 binding site reversed the transcriptional responses seen with Fos and Jun. EMSA studies utilizing antibodies specific to Fos and Jun demonstrated the involvement of several AP-1 family proteins. Functional assessment of Fos and Jun was further demonstrated by transfecting antisense c-Fos, Fra-1, and dominant negative forms of Fos (A-Fos) and c-Jun (TAM-67) into MA-10 cells, which significantly (P < 0.01) repressed transcription of the StAR gene. Mutation of the AP-1 site in combination with mutations in other cis-elements resulted in a further decrease of StAR promoter activity, demonstrating a functional cooperation between these factors. Mammalian two-hybrid assays revealed high-affinity protein-protein interactions between c-Fos and c-Jun with steroidogenic factor 1, GATA-4, and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-beta. These findings demonstrate that Fos and Jun can bind to the TGACTGA element in the StAR promoter and provide novel insights into the mechanisms regulating StAR gene transcription.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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