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J Biol Chem. 2008 Feb 1;283(5):2741-50. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

Sequences in intron 51 of the von Willebrand factor gene target promoter activation to a subset of lung endothelial cells in transgenic mice.

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Biology Department, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA 16335, USA.


In vivo analyses of the VWF promoter previously demonstrated that a fragment spanning sequences -487 to +247 targets promoter activation to brain vascular endothelial cells, whereas a longer fragment including 2182 bp of the 5'-flanking sequences, the first exon, and the first intron activated expression in endothelial cells of the heart and muscles as well as the brain of transgenic mice. These results suggested that additional VWF gene sequences were required for expression in other vascular endothelial cells in vivo. We have now identified a region within intron 51 of the VWF gene that is DNase I-hypersensitive (HSS) specifically in non-endothelial cells and interacts with endothelial and non-endothelial specific complexes that contain YY1. We demonstrate that beta-actin is associated with YY1 specifically in the nucleus of non-endothelial cells and is a component of the nuclear protein complexes that interact with the DNase I-hypersensitive region. In vitro transfection analyses demonstrated that HSS sequences containing this YY1-binding site do not significantly affect VWF promoter activity. However, in vivo analyses demonstrated that addition of these sequences to the VWF promoter (-487 to +247) results in promoter activation in lung and brain vascular endothelial cells. These results demonstrate that the HSS sequences in intron 51 of the VWF gene contain cis-acting elements that are necessary for the VWF gene transcription in a subset of lung endothelial cells in vivo.

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