Control of gene expression in intestinal cells is poorly understood. Molecular mechanisms that regulate transcription of cellular genes are the foundation for understanding developmental and differentiation events. Mucin gene expression has been shown to be altered in many intestinal diseases and especially cancers of the gastrointestinal tract. Towards understanding the transcriptional regulation of a member of the 11p15.5 human mucin gene cluster, we have characterized 3.55 kb of the 5ʹ-flanking region of the human mucin gene MUC5B, including the promoter, the first two exons and the first intron. We report here the promoter activity of successively 5ʹ-truncated sections of 956 bases of this region by fusing it to the coding region of a luciferase reporter gene. The transcription start site was determined by primer-extension analysis. The region upstream of the transcription start site is characterized by the presence of a TATA box at bases -32/-26, DNA-binding elements for transcription factors c-Myc, N-Myc, Sp1 and nuclear factor ĸB as well as putative activator protein (AP)-1-, cAMP-response-element-binding protein (CREB)-, hepatocyte nuclear factor (HNF)-1-, HNF-3-, TGT3-, gut-enriched Krüppel factor (GKLF)-, thyroid transcription factor (TTF)-1- and glucocorticoid receptor element (GRE)-binding sites. Intron 1 of MUC5B was also characterized, it is 2511 nucleotides long and contains a DNA segment of 259 bp in which are clustered eight tandemly repeated GA boxes and a CACCC box that bind Sp1. AP-2α and GATA-1 nuclear factors were also shown to bind to their respective cognate elements in intron 1. In transfection studies the MUC5B promoter showed a cell-specific activity as it is very active in mucus-secreting LS174T cells, whereas it is inactive in Caco-2 enterocytes and HT-29 STD (standard) undifferentiated cells. Within the promoter, maximal transcription activity was found in a segment covering the first 223 bp upstream of the transcription start site. Finally, in co-transfection experiments a transactivating effect of Sp1 on to MUC5B promoter was seen in LS174T and Caco-2 cells.
- The Biochemical Society, London © 2000