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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jun 11;279(24):25010-6. Epub 2004 Apr 8.

RTEF-1, a novel transcriptional stimulator of vascular endothelial growth factor in hypoxic endothelial cells.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA.


Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is an angiogenic growth factor known to be up-regulated in ischemic heart and hypoxic endothelial cells. However, the transcriptional regulation of VEGF in hypoxia-induced angiogenesis is not fully understood. Transcriptional enhancer factor-1 (TEF-1) is a transcriptional factor family that can regulate many genes expressed in cardiac and skeletal muscle cells by binding to myocyte-specific chloramphenicol acetyltransferase heptamer elements in the promoters of these genes. In this study, we demonstrated that related TEF-1 (RTEF-1), a member of the TEF-1 family, is up-regulated in hypoxic endothelial cells. Overexpression of RTEF-1 increases VEGF promoter activity and VEGF expression. Sequential deletion and site-directed mutation analyses of the VEGF promoter demonstrated that a GC-rich region containing four Sp1 response elements, located between -114 and -50, was essential for RTEF-1 function. This region is beyond the hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha binding site and does not consist of M-CAT-related elements. By electrophoretic mobility shift assay, RTEF-1 was found to interact with the first Sp1 residue (-97 to -87) of the four consecutive Sp1 elements. Binding activity of RTEF-1 to VEGF promoter is also confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. In addition, induction of VEGF promoter activity by RTEF-1 results in an increase of angiogenic processes including endothelial cells proliferation and vascular structure formation. These results indicate that RTEF-1 acts as a transcriptional stimulator of VEGF by regulating VEGF promoter activity through binding to Sp1 site. In addition, RTEF-1-induced VEGF promoter activity was enhanced in a hypoxic condition, indicating that RTEF-1 may play an important role in the regulation of VEGF under hypoxia.

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