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J Biol Chem. 1995 Oct 6;270(40):23627-33.

GABP and PU.1 compete for binding, yet cooperate to increase CD18 (beta 2 leukocyte integrin) transcription.

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  • 1Brown University School of Medicine, Division of Hematology, Miriam Hospital, Providence, Rhode Island 02906, USA.


CD18 (beta 2 leukocyte integrin) is a leukocyte-specific adhesion molecule that plays a crucial role in immune and inflammatory responses. A 79-nucleotide fragment of the CD18 promoter is sufficient to direct myeloid transcription. The CD18 promoter is bound by the B lymphocyte- and myeloid-restricted ets factor, PU.1, and disruption of the PU.1-binding sites significantly reduces promoter activity. However, PU.1 alone cannot fully account for the leukocyte-specific and myeloid-inducible transcription of CD18. We identified a ubiquitously expressed nuclear protein complex of extremely low electrophoretic mobility that also binds to this region of the CD18 promoter. This binding complex is a heterotetramer composed of GABP alpha, and ets factor, and GABP beta, a subunit with homology to Drosophila Notch. GABP alpha competes with the lineage restricted factor, PU.1, for the same critical CD18 ets sites. The CD18 promoter is activated in myeloid cells by transfection with both GABP alpha and GABP beta together, but not by either factor alone. Transfection of non-hematopoietic cells with the two GABP subunits together with PU.1 is sufficient to activate CD18 transcription in otherwise non-permissive cells. Thus, GABP and PU.1 compete for the same binding sites but cooperate to activate CD18 transcription.

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