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J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 26;282(4):2615-25. Epub 2006 Nov 22.

Molecular mechanisms of transactivation and doxorubicin-mediated repression of survivin gene in cancer cells.

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New England Biolabs, Ipswich, Massachusetts 01938-2723, USA.


Human maintenance DNA cytosine methyltransferase (DNMT1) regulates gene expression in a methylation-dependent and -independent manner. Anti-apoptotic survivin gene down-regulation is mediated by p53 recruitment of DNMT1 to its promoter. Survivin inhibits programmed cell death, regulates cell division, and is expressed in cancer cells. The survivin gene promoter is CG-rich containing several Sp1 canonical, Sp1-like, cell cycle-dependent element/cell cycle gene homology region, and p53-binding sites. Here we demonstrate that Sp1 transcription factor(s) play a role in transcriptional activation of the survivin promoter in Drosophila and human cells. Sp1 inhibition in vivo by mithramycin A leads to down-regulation of a luciferase reporter driven by the human survivin promoter in transfected cells. Mithramycin A or Sp1-specific short interfering RNA down-regulated the endogenous survivin gene expression, confirming Sp1 as the primary determinant for transcriptional activation. Furthermore, immobilized DNMT1 ligand bound to seven consensus amino acids corresponding to the N-terminal region of the Sp class of transcription factors in a phage display analysis. In the co-immunoprecipitation assay, the endogenous Sp1 or Sp3 pulled down DNMT1 and methyltransferase activity. Similarly, a glutathione S-transferase pulldown assay between DNMT1 and Sp1 demonstrates a direct interaction between the two proteins. Fluorescent fusions of DNMT1 and Sp1 co-localized in the mammalian nucleus, thus supporting binary complex formation between both the proteins. The kinetics of survivin promoter occupancy via chromatin immunoprecipitation following doxorubicin treatment show the presence of Sp1 and gradual accumulation of transcriptional repressors p53, DNMT1, histone methyltransferase G9a, and HDAC1 onto the promoter along with histone H3K9me2. These data suggest that the Sp1 transcription factor acts as a platform for recruitment of transcriptional repressors.

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