DNA sequence and functional characterization of the human and rat epidermal growth factor promoter: regulation by cell growth

Mullhaupt, B.; Feren, A.; Jones, A.; Fodor, E.

Gene 250(1-2): 191-200


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-1119
PMID: 10854792
DOI: 10.1016/s0378-1119(00)00178-5
Accession: 010414219

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Epidermal growth factor (EGF) regulates cell growth and differentiation through intracellular transduction networks activated by its tyrosine kinase receptor, EGFR. In this report we describe the structure and DNA sequence of transcriptional control regions from both human and Wistar-rat single copy EGF genes and their functional analysis in epithelial cell cultures. By sequence comparison we show these proximal gene regions have remained conserved in evolution to -640 (relative to the rodent mRNA initiation site), where similarity is interrupted by a rodent interspersed-repeat element (SINE). Transcript mapping reveals complexity in EGF initiation site selection: whereas a single rat liver initiation site (+1) appears 30 bp 3' to the TTTAA element, an additional upstream site is detected in kidney RNA at -14. In contrast, in human RNA a single initiation is observed, which is displaced 12 bp 3' to the rodent RNA terminus. Both promoters were defined in transient expression assays. Our results show the human promoter to be at least 20-fold more active than the equivalent rodent sequence, although both are activated during cell proliferation and negatively regulated in contact inhibited and quiescent cultures. The results indicate EGF gene expression and cell division are temporally linked, suggesting its promoter comprises a growth responsive regulatory domain.