Identification and characterization of conserved cis-regulatory elements in the human keratocan gene promoter

Tasheva, E.S.; Conrad, A.H.; Conrad, G.W.

Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 1492(2-3): 452-459


ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3002
PMID: 10899581
DOI: 10.1016/s0167-4781(00)00129-9
Accession: 010779492

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Keratocan, along with lumican and mimecan, represent the keratan sulfate-containing proteoglycans of the vertebrate cornea that play a key role in development and maintenance of corneal transparency. In this study, we cloned 4.1 kb of the human Kera 5'-flanking region and characterized the promoter structure. Using primer extension and ribonuclease protection assay, we identify two major transcriptional start sites in the first exon. Using luciferase reporter gene transfection analysis of 5'-deletion and mutation constructs, we demonstrate positive and negative regulatory elements within a 1.3 kb upstream sequence. Comparison of human and bovine 5'-flanking sequences reveals three highly conserved regions: a 450 bp region in the first exon, a 92 bp promoter proximal conserved regulatory region identified as an enhancer in the natural context, and a 223 bp promoter distal conserved regulatory region identified as a silencer both in the natural context and in a heterologous promoter system. In addition, a conserved CArG-box residing 851 bp upstream of the first transcription start site also can lead to the repression of Kera expression in cultured corneal keratocytes. DNaseI footprinting and electrophoretic mobility shift assay demonstrate that cell type-specific factors bind to regulatory elements located in the conserved regions. Competition experiments indicate that the CTC factor and a protein that binds to the CAGA motif are likely to be among the multiple factors involved in the transcriptional regulation of the human Kera gene.