Glucocorticoid regulation of a transcription factor that binds an initiator-like element in the murine thymidine kinase (Tk-1) promoter

Kunsoo Rhee, E. Aubrey Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Glucocorticoids inhibit transcription of the murine cytoplasmic thymidine kinase gene (Tk-1). Glucocorticoid regulation of Tk-1 transcription can be demonstrated in cells that are arrested in late G1. This observation indicates that inhibition of Tk-1 expression is not dependent upon redistribution within the cell cycle but is due to glucocorticoid regulation of this gene. Transfection studies have been carried out using chimeric genes in which restriction fragments of the Tk-1 promoter were fused to chloramphenicol acetyltransferase or neomycin phosphotransferase. These chimeric reporters were assayed for stable expression and glucocorticoid regulation in P1798 lymphoma cells. A 140-bp fragment, extending from -143 to -3 bp with respect to the thymidine kinase translational start site, was capable of both basal and glucocorticoid-regulated transcription of reporter genes. The extent of inhibition by glucocorticoids was similar to that observed for the endogenous gene, and no increase in basal expression or the extent of inhibition was observed with constructs containing additional 5'- flanking DNA. The 140-bp Tk-1 core promoter fragment binds to transcription factors in extracts from P1798 cells. Control cell extracts contain factors that bind to and protect (from deoxyribonuclease I) a distal promoter element from -106 to -87 bp, relative to the translational start site. A second, proximal element was protected at -43 to -36 bp. The proximal element of the Tk-1 promoter resembles an RNA polymerase II initiator element. No other elements were protected. Glucocorticoids inhibit the amount or activity of the transcription factor that binds to this initiator-like element within the Tk-1 promoter. This element, when fused to upstream activation sequences from the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter, conveys glucocorticoid sensitivity in cis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1536-1548
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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