Alu family sequences are middle repetitive short interspersed elements (SINEs) dispersed throughout vertebrate genomes that can modulate gene transcription. The human (h) GH locus contains 44 complete and four partial Alu elements. An Sx Alu repeat lies in close proximity to the hGH-1 and hGH-2 genes in the 3′-flanking region. Deletion of the Sx Alu repeat in reporter constructs containing hGH-1 3′-flanking sequences increased reporter activity in transfected pituitary GC cells, suggesting this region contained a repressor element. Analysis of multiple deletion fragments from the 3′-flanking region of the hGH-1 gene revealed a strong orientation- and position-independent silencing activity mapping between nucleotides 2158 and 2572 encompassing the Sx Alu repeat. Refined mapping revealed that the silencer was a complex element comprising four discrete entities, including a core repressor domain (CRD), an antisilencer domain (ASE) that contains elements mediating the orientation-independent silencer activity, and two domains flanking the CRD/ASE that modulate silencer activity in a CRD-dependent manner. The upstream modulator domain is also required for orientation-independent silencer function. EMSA with DNA fragments representing all of the silencer domains yielded a complex pattern of DNA-protein interactions indicating that numerous GC cell nuclear proteins bind specifically to the CRD, ASE, and modulator domains. The silencer is GH promoter dependent and, in turn, its presence decreases the rate of promoter-associated histone acetylation resulting in a significant decrease of RNA polymerase II recruitment to the promoter. The silencer may provide for complex regulatory control of hGH gene expression in pituitary cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology