Send to

Choose Destination
Biometals. 2018 Jun;31(3):357-368. doi: 10.1007/s10534-018-0080-z. Epub 2018 Feb 20.

Cloning and characterization of the human lactoferrin receptor gene promoter.

Author information

Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.
Department of Nutrition, University of California, Davis, CA, 95616, USA.


Lactoferrin (Lf) is a major protein in human milk. Multiple biological functions of Lf are postulated to be mediated by a Lf receptor (LfR). The Lf receptor (LfR) plays an important role in absorption of Lf and Lf-bound iron by intestinal epithelial cells. Here, we cloned and characterized the promoter from a ~ 3.1 kb 5'-flanking region of the human LfR gene. Neither a TATA box nor a CCAAT box is found at the typical positions. The transcription start site was identified as 298 bp upstream of the translation start codon (+ 1) by 5' RLM-RACE. A series of deletions of 5'-flanking sequences of the human LfR gene were cloned into a promoter-less pGL3 luciferase reporter and transiently transfected into an intestinal enterocyte model (Caco-2 cells). A fragment of - 299/+ 63 elicited the maximal promoter activity in transfected Caco-2 cells, suggesting that functional transcription factor binding sites appear in the region of - 299/+ 63. Bioinformatics analysis indicates that the - 299/+ 63 fragment contains two putative Sp1 binding sites. The promoter activity was significantly decreased when the Sp1 binding sites were mutated by site-directed mutagenesis. Additionally, the promoter activity was dramatically inhibited by treating cells with an Sp1 inhibitor. Binding of Sp1 to the promoter was confirmed by EMSA. Moreover, after Sp1 expression was significantly suppressed by RNA interference, LfR was significantly decreased at both RNA and protein levels. In conclusion, the LfR gene promoter contains downstream core promoter elements, and the Sp1 binding sites play critical roles in transcriptional regulation of the LfR gene.


Caco-2 cells; Lactoferrin receptor; Promoter; Transcription activation

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Springer
Loading ...
Support Center