The tissue-specific transcriptional regulation of the megakaryocytic glycoprotein IIb gene is controlled by interactions between a repressor and positive cis-acting elements

MH Prandini, F Martin, D Thevenon and G Uzan


Much information on regulation of the transcription of megakaryocytic genes stems from studies on the glycoprotein IIb (GPIIb) gene, an early and specific marker of this lineage. Transcriptional activity is controlled by the association of positive promoter elements corresponding to binding sites for the transcription factor GATA-1 and a member of the Ets family. In the present study, we show that these elements are not directly involved in the control of cell specificity. In contrast, we identified a sequence located between -170 and -73 that exhibited a repressor activity based on an analysis of the transcriptional activity of 5′-deleted GPIIb promoter fragments transfected in the nonhematopoietic HeLa cells. Further analysis of this repressor by substitution mutagenesis of the -139/-63 region showed that bases -120/-116 and -102/-93 were required for full repressor activity. The repressor is able to interact differentially with GPIIb promoter elements active in the megakaryocytic HEL, the erythroid K562, the monocytic U937, or the nonhematopoietic HeLa cell lines, indicating that it controls GPIIb gene tissue specificity. In addition, direct evidence for tissue-specific interaction between this repressor and the GPIIb -598/ -406 enhancer was obtained when these elements were set in the context of a heterologous SV40 promoter. Interestingly, the same repressor element controlling tissue specificity of the GPIIb gene may also control its temporal expression during megakaryocyte differentiation, based on recent evidence obtained by Fong and Santoro (J Biol Chem 269:18441, 1994). Finally, we found that the -120/-116 GPIIb sequence was part of a consensus motif shared by promoters of other megakaryocyte-specific genes, suggesting a common repressor mechanism.