Identification of a cis-acting element in the class I major histocompatibility complex gene promoter responsive to activation by retroviral sequences

Sang-Yun Choi, Karyn Van De Mark, Douglas V. Faller

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The infection of cells with Moloney murine leukemia virus (M-MuLV) causes an increase in specific cellular gene products, including the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class 1 antigens. This upregulation occurs through a transactivation process mediated by the long terminal repeat (LTR) of M-MuLV, and we show here that the gene activation response to the LTR requires at least one specific cis element within the MHC proximal promoter region. Nested deletions of MHC class I H-2Kb gene promoter sequence were subcloned into a cholramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter vector and then transiently introduced into BALB/c-3T3 cells expressing M-MuLV or cotransfected into BALB/c-3T3 cells with a vector containing subgenomic portions of the virus, including the LTR. CAT activity assays demonstrated that a minimal H-2K(b) gene promoter (-64 to + 12) contained elements sufficient for this transactivation. DNase I footprinting assays located a protein-binding site in the region of -64 to -34 bp from the transcriptional start site, and point mutation analysis confirmed the location of this cis- acting element, designated the let response element (LRE), and defined a binding motif. This LRE is distinct from binding sites for currently known transcription factors in the class I MHC gene promoter and is conserved in the promoters of human and murine MHC class I genes. Mutation of the LRE resulted in dramatic reduction in both DNA-protein binding activity in electrophoretic mobility shift assay and in the ability of the mutated promoter to respond to retroviral transactivation. Addition of the LRE to a heterologous promoter conferred the ability to respond to retroviral transactivation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-970
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Feb 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology

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