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Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Mar;11(3):1638-46.

Retinoic acid response element in the human alcohol dehydrogenase gene ADH3: implications for regulation of retinoic acid synthesis.

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Department of Biochemistry, Colorado State University, Fort Collins 80523.


Retinoic acid regulation of one member of the human class I alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) gene family was demonstrated, suggesting that the retinol dehydrogenase function of ADH may play a regulatory role in the biosynthetic pathway for retinoic acid. Promoter activity of human ADH3, but not ADH1 or ADH2, was shown to be activated by retinoic acid in transient transfection assays of Hep3B human hepatoma cells. Deletion mapping experiments identified a region in the ADH3 promoter located between -328 and -272 bp which confers retinoic acid activation. This region was also demonstrated to confer retinoic acid responsiveness on the ADH1 and ADH2 genes in heterologous promoter fusions. Within a 34-bp stretch, the ADH3 retinoic acid response element (RARE) contains two TGACC motifs and one TGAAC motif, both of which exist in RAREs controlling other genes. A block mutation of the TGACC sequence located at -289 to -285 bp eliminated the retinoic acid response. As assayed by gel shift DNA binding studies, the RARE region (-328 to -272 bp) of ADH3 bound the human retinoic acid receptor beta (RAR beta) and was competed for by DNA containing a RARE present in the gene encoding RAR beta. Since ADH catalyzes the conversion of retinol to retinal, which can be further converted to retinoic acid by aldehyde dehydrogenase, these results suggest that retinoic acid activation of ADH3 constitutes a positive feedback loop regulating retinoic acid synthesis.

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