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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Jan 23;93(2):873-7.

Transcriptional activation of the mouse obese (ob) gene by CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Like other adipocyte genes that are transcriptionally activated by CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha (C/EBP alpha) during preadipocyte differentiation, expression of the mouse obese (ob) gene is immediately preceded by the expression of C/EBP alpha. While the 5' flanking region of the mouse ob gene contains several consensus C/EBP binding sites, only one of these sites appears to be functional. DNase I cleavage inhibition patterns (footprinting) of the ob gene promoter revealed that recombinant C/EBP alpha, as well as a nuclear factor present in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, but present at a much lower level in preadipocytes, protects the same region between nucleotides -58 and -42 relative to the transcriptional start site. Electrophoretic mobility-shift analysis using nuclear extracts from adipose tissue or 3T3-L1 adipocytes and an oligonucleotide probe corresponding to a consensus C/EBP binding site at nucleotides -55 to -47 generated a specific protein-oligonucleotide complex that was supershifted by antibody against C/EBP alpha. Probes corresponding to two upstream consensus C/EBP binding sites failed to generate protein-oligonucleotide complexes. Cotransfection of a C/EBP alpha expression vector into 3T3-L1 cells with a series of 5' truncated ob gene promoter constructs activated reporter gene expression with all constructs containing the proximal C/EBP binding site (nucleotides -55 to -47). Mutation of this site blocked transactivation by C/EBP alpha. Taken together, these findings implicate C/EBP alpha as a transcriptional activator of the ob gene promoter and identify the functional C/EBP binding site in the promoter.

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