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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jul 28;346(2):426-35. Epub 2006 Jun 2.

Regulation of human tyrosine hydroxylase gene by neuron-restrictive silencer factor.

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Neuroscience Graduate Program, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea.


Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), the biosynthetic enzyme of catecholamine, is synthesized specifically in catecholaminergic neurons. Thus, it is possible that neuronal cell type-specific expression of this gene is coordinately regulated. One of the neuron-specific transcription regulators, neuron-restrictive silencer factor (NRSF)/repressor element 1 (RE1) silencing transcription factor (REST), represses the expression of neuronal genes in non-neuronal cells. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms that control catecholaminergic neuronal expression of human TH, we initially characterized the 5' regulatory region. Previous studies have shown that a 3174 bp fragment of the human TH promoter confers specific expression to the reporter gene in dopaminergic neuron-like cell lines. Within this 5' regulatory region, three putative neuron-restrictive silencer elements (NRSE)/RE1 were identified, which bound NRSF/REST in a sequence-specific manner, as confirmed using EMSA and ChIP assays. In transient transfection assays, deletion or mutation of NRSE/RE1 elements led to a 7-fold increase in activity of the 3.2 kb TH promoter in human neural stem cells (NSCs), but had no major effects on differentiated neuron-like cells. Suppression of NRSF/REST functions with either the histone deacetylase inhibitor, trichostatin, or DN-NRSF induced TH promoter activity. Our data strongly suggest that NRSF/REST functions as a repressor of TH transcription in NSCs via a mechanism dependent on the TH NRSE/RE1 sites.

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