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J Mol Biol. 2009 Jul 24;390(4):595-603. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2009.05.036. Epub 2009 May 23.

A far-upstream Oct-1 motif regulates cytokine-induced transcription of the human inducible nitric oxide synthase gene.

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Department of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.


Transcriptional regulation of the human inducible nitric oxide synthase (hiNOS) gene is highly complex and requires an orchestrated flow of positive and negative transcription factors that bind to specific cis-acting upstream response elements. Very little specific information exists about the far-upstream region of the hiNOS gene. Oct-1 protein belongs to the Pit-Oct-Unc domain transcription factor family and is constitutively expressed in all dividing cells. It is essential for proliferation, differentiation, and other key cell processes. However, the role of Oct-1 in regulating hiNOS gene expression has not been reported. In this work, the octamer sequence 5'-ATGCAAAT-3' at -10.2 kb in the hiNOS promoter was identified as high-affinity Oct-1 binding by electrophoretic mobility shift assay in vitro and chromatin immunoprecipitation assay in vivo. Mutation of Oct-1 motif at -10.2 kb in the hiNOS promoter decreased cytokine-induced hiNOS promoter activity by 40%. Cytokine-induced hiNOS promoter activity was also significantly reduced by Oct-1 small interfering RNA targeting. Overexpression of Oct-1 increased cytokine-induced hiNOS protein expression in primary human hepatocytes. Furthermore, the Oct-1 motif at -10.2 kb of the hiNOS promoter conferred increased transcriptional activity to the heterologous thymidine kinase promoter irrespective of cytokine induction. Taken together, this work identifies a far-upstream functional Oct-1 enhancer motif at -10.2 kb in the hiNOS promoter that regulates cytokine-induced hiNOS gene transcription and further underscores tight control mechanisms regulating the expression of the hiNOS gene.

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