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Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor, hepatocyte nuclear factor 3, and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein control the far-upstream enhancer of the rat alpha-fetoprotein gene

Thomassin, H.; Bois-Joyeux, B.; Delille, R.; Ikonomova, R.; Danan, J.L.

Dna and Cell Biology 15(12): 1063-1074

1996


ISSN/ISBN: 1044-5498
PMID: 8985120
DOI: 10.1089/dna.1996.15.1063
Accession: 008308292

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We have further characterized the most distal of the three alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) enhancers required for expression of the AFP gene in fetal hepatocytes and yolk sac endodermal cells. Almost total rat AFP enhancer 3 (E3) activity is driven by a 160-bp fragment at -6 kb containing three target regions for nuclear proteins that cooperate to stimulate transcription from the AFP and the thymidine kinase promoters in HepG2 hepatoma cells. Region 1, recently shown to be crucial for correct function of the enhancer in liver of transgenic mice, is recognized by two sets of transcription factors that bind to partly overlapping sites, 1a and 1b, in a noncooperative and nonexclusive manner. Site 1a contains a motif, AGGTCA, which is recognized by chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TFs), but not by hepatocyte nuclear factor 4. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 3 (HNF3) and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP), which bind to regions 2 and 3, respectively, are likely responsible for the liver-specific E3 action. They play a key role by acting in synergy. The participation of nuclear receptors such as COUP-TFs, with C/EBP and HNF3, in the tight control of the distal AFP enhancer is a new. and perhaps key, step toward understanding the regulation and function of this enhancer, which may remain active throughout development.

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