Basal promoter of the rat connexin 32 gene: identification and characterization of an essential element and its DNA-binding protein

Bai, S.; Schoenfeld, A.; Pietrangelo, A.; Burk, R.D.

Molecular and Cellular Biology 15(3): 1439-1445


ISSN/ISBN: 0270-7306
PMID: 7862137
DOI: 10.1128/mcb.15.3.1439
Accession: 008213566

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The connexin 32 (Cx32) gene, a member of a multigene family, is expressed preferentially in the liver. The basal promoter complex of the rat Cx32 gene was previously localized to a 146-bp region (map positions [mp] -179 to -34) immediately upstream of the first exon. To investigate the biochemical factors contributing to the basal promoter activity, nuclear protein-DNA complexes within this region (mp -177 to -106) were investigated by using a DNA mobility shift assay. Three DNA-protein binding activities, termed Cx32-B1, Cx32-B2, and Cx32-B3, were identified with nuclear protein extracts from hepatoma cell lines, HuH7 and FAO-1. However, only Cx32-B2 binding activity was detected in nuclear protein extract from normal rat liver tissue. This activity was significantly more abundant in rat liver tissue than in hepatoma cell lines and tissues from various other organs. By using methylation interference footprinting, the Cx32-B2 complex was localized to the region between mp -152 and -127 and a DNA probe containing this region bound to a 60-kDa protein in rat liver nuclear extracts. Mutation of two nucleotides in the Cx32-B2 binding site abrogated the formation of the Cx32-B2 protein-DNA complex and significantly reduced the transcriptional activity of the Cx32 promoter. These results indicate that the Cx32-B2 complex is an essential component of the rat Cx32 basal promoter and is likely a major factor in the preferential expression of this gene in the liver.