Ubiquitous and neuronal DNA-binding proteins interact with a negative regulatory element of the human hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase gene

Diego E. Rincón-Limas, Felipe Amaya-Manzanares, María Laura Niño-Rosales, Yongjia Yu, Thomas P. Yang, Pragna I. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The hypoxanthine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT) gene is constitutively expressed at low levels in all tissues but at higher levels in the brain; the significance and mechanism of this differential expression are unknown. We previously identified a 182-bp element (hHPRT-NE) within the 5'-flanking region of the human HPRT (hHPRT) gene, which is involved not only in conferring neuronal specificity but also in repressing gene expression in nonneuronal tissues. Here we report that this element interacts with different nuclear proteins, some of which are present specifically in neuronal cells (complex I) and others of which are present in cells showing constitutive expression of the gene (complex II). In addition, we found that complex I factors are expressed in human NT2/D1 cells following induction of neuronal differentiation by retinoic acid. This finding correlates with an increase of HPRT gene transcription following neuronal differentiation. We also mapped the binding sites for both complexes to a 60-bp region (Ff; positions -510 to -451) which, when analyzed in transfection assays, functioned as a repressor element analogous to the full-length hHPRT-NE sequence. Methylation interference footprintings revealed a minimal unique DNA motif, 5'-GGAAGCC-3', as the binding site for nuclear proteins from both neuronal and nonneuronal sources. However, site-directed mutagenesis of the footprinted region indicated that different nucleotides are essential for the associations of these two complexes. Moreover, UV cross-linking experiments showed that both complexes are formed by the association of several different proteins. Taken together, these data suggest that differential interaction of DNA-binding factors with this regulatory element plays a crucial role in the brain-preferential expression of the gene, and they should lead to the isolation of transcriptional regulators important in neuronal expression of the HPRT gene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6561-6571
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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