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J Biol Chem. 2007 Sep 14;282(37):26717-24. Epub 2007 Jul 5.

Regulation of tryptophan hydroxylase-2 gene expression by a bipartite RE-1 silencer of transcription/neuron restrictive silencing factor (REST/NRSF) binding motif.

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Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience Institute, University of Michigan Medical Center, 109 Zena Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2200, USA.


Tryptophan hydroxylase-2 (TPH2) is the rate-limiting enzyme in raphe serotonin biosynthesis, and polymorphisms of TPH2 are implicated in vulnerability to psychiatric disorders. Dynamic transcription regulation of TPH2 may underlie differences in vulnerability. We identified a transcription element in the TPH2 promoter that resembles the binding motif for RE-1 silencer of transcription (REST; also known as NRSF) transcription factor. REST limits tissue expression of non-neuronal genes through a canonical 21-bp motif called the NRSE (neuron-restrictive silencing element). The NRSE in TPH2 is a novel bipartite variant interrupted by a 6-base insertion. We confirmed that this bipartite NRSE permits transcriptional repression by REST identical to canonical NRSE in rat C6-glioma cells. Synthetic permutations of the motif revealed considerable flexibility in the juxtaposition of the two halves of bipartite NRSE. Computational analysis revealed many bipartite NRSE variants conserved between mouse and human genomes. A subgroup of these was found to bind REST by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Messenger RNAs for TPH2 and potassium channel H6, another gene with a bipartite NRSE, were up-regulated by dominant-negative REST in C6-glioma cells. These findings, which indicate that TPH2 expression is part of the developmental program regulated by REST and suggest that many previously unrecognized genes may be regulated by REST through the novel motif, have implications for the mechanism of REST action.

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