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J Biol Chem. 1997 Apr 25;272(17):11361-8.

Characterization of the human thrombopoietin gene promoter. A possible role of an Ets transcription factor, E4TF1/GABP.

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Department of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Kyushu University, Faculty of Medicine, Fukuoka 812-82, Japan.


Thrombopoietin (TPO), the ligand for c-Mpl, is a cytokine that regulates megakaryocyte growth and development. We have cloned the 5'-flanking region of the human TPO gene and analyzed its promoter activity. The human TPO gene promoter lacks a TATA box and directs transcription initiation at multiple sites over a 50-nucleotide region. Transient expression in a human liver cell line (PLC) of promoter fragment-luciferase reporter gene constructs containing a series of 5'-truncated sequences or site-directed mutations identified a sequence 5'-ACTTCCG-3' from -69 to -63 as a positive cis-acting element for high level expression of TPO gene. This sequence contains a core motif (C/A)GGA(A/T) for Ets family proteins in the noncoding strand. Gel mobility shift assays performed with nuclear protein from PLC cells identified a DNA binding protein(s) specific for the element. Anti-E4TF1-60(GABPalpha) or anti-E4TF1-53/47(GABPbeta) antibodies supershifted the complex in gel shift assay. Furthermore, co-expression of E4TF1-60 and E4TF1-53/47 squelched TPO gene expression in PLC and HepG2 cells. It is concluded that Ets family transcription factor E4TF1(GABPalpha/beta), an ubiquitously expressed protein, is required for high level expression of the TPO gene in liver.

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