A family of constitutive C/EBP-like DNA binding proteins attenuate the IL-1α induced, NFκB mediated transactivation of the angiotensinogen gene acute-phase response element

Allan R. Brasier, David Ron, James E. Tate, Joel F. Habener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

118 Scopus citations


The gene encoding angiotensinogen, the glycoprotein precursor of the potent vasopressor peptide angiotensin II, is transcriptionally activated in hepatocytes during the acute-phase response through interactions of mutually cooperative glucocorticoid receptors and proteins that bind to an acute-phase response element (APRE) 5′-AGTTGGGATTTCCCAACC-3′. The APRE binds a family of constitutive proteins (BPcs) and a cytokine inducible protein (BPi) that is indistinguishable from nuclear factor κB (NFκB). The interactions of purified proteins with the APRE were studied by in vitro binding and in vivo transcriptional trans-activation assays. BPc is a family of heat-stable DNA binding proteins, the different sized members of which are capable of forming beterodimers. BPcs are recognized by anti-C/EBP antiserum and produce a footprint similar to bacterially expressed C/EBP on the APRE. BPi has a 4- to 5-fold greater affinity for the APRE than the BPcs, and contacts guanosine residues distinct from those contacted by the BPcs, demonstrating that these two classes of proteins contain functionally distinct DNA binding domains. Assays of APRE-luciferase reporter plasmids transfected into HepG2 cells show that a mutated APRE that binds only BPi functions as an IL-1α inducible enhancer, whereas a mutated APRE that binds only BPc does not. The APRE mutant that binds the C/EBP-like BPcs to the exclusion of BPi functions as an uninducible basal enhancer both in the native context of the angiotensinogen gene and when multimerized and placed upstream of a minimal angiotensinogen promoter. The wild-type APRE that binds both BPi and BPc is less inducible by IL-1α than the mutated APRE that binds only BPi. Gel shift competition assays demonstrate in vitro that the mechanism of transcriptional regulation by the APRE involves a competition between BPc and the inducible BPi for binding to the APRE. IL-1α stimulation of hepatocytes leads to nuclear translocation of the NFκB-like BPi which competes with the constitutive C/EBP-like BPcs for overlapping binding sites on the APRE and thereby replaces weak transcriptional activators with a stronger one.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3933-3944
Number of pages12
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number12
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes



  • Acute-phase response
  • Angiotensinogen gene
  • C
  • DNA binding proteins
  • EBP
  • Nuclear factor κB

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology

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