Biochemical Journal

Research article

Different Sp1 family members differentially affect transcription from the human elongation factor 1 A-1 gene promoter

S⊘ren J. NIELSEN, Morten PRÆSTEGAARD, Helle F. J. ØRGENSEN, Brian F. C. CLARK

Abstract

The GC box is an important transcriptional regulatory element present in the promoters of many mammalian genes. In the present study we examine the effect of known GC-box-binding proteins on the promoter of the human elongation factor 1 A-1 (hEF1A-1) gene in human HeLa cells and Drosophila SL2 cells. In HeLa cells co-transfection with the GC-box-binding protein BTEB resulted in a 4–10-fold increase in hEF1A-1 promoter activity. This stimulation was dependent on a single GC box located between positions -69 and -50 of the promoter. Little or no effect was observed of other GC-box-binding proteins including Sp1, Sp3, Sp4 and BTEB2. In SL2 cells stimulation by Sp1 and Sp3 through the single GC box of the proximal promoter led to 13-fold and 21-fold increases respectively in promoter activity. Inclusion of further upstream sequences resulted in high levels of expression when Sp1 or Sp3 was co-transfected with the reporter plasmid. In this setting Sp1 stimulated transcription by 750-fold, whereas Sp3 was even more potent, yielding a 1150-fold stimulation. Mobility-shift assays performed with the promoter-proximal GC box demonstrated the binding of Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 to this sequence. To our knowledge, the present study represents the first comparison of all known GC-box-binding proteins on a natural promoter.