SP1 is a transcriptional regulator of URG-4/URGCP gene in hepatocytes
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URG-4/URGCP gene was implicated as an oncogene that contributes hepatocarcinogenesis regulated by Hepatitis-B-virus-encoded X antigen. However, the mechanism of transcriptional regulation of this gene remains largely unknown. For this reason, we focused on the functional analyses of URG4/URGCP promoter site. First, 545 bp of URG-4/URGCP, -482/+63, and three different 5'-truncated constructs, -109/+63, -261/+63, -344/+63 were cloned by PCR-based approach into pMetLuc luciferase reporter vector. Transient transfection assay showed that, -109/+63 construct has the highest activity. The promoter of URG-4/URGCP gene contained a CpG island region spanning 400 bp from translation start site. Many SP1/GC boxes, named GC-1 to GC-10 are present in 545 bp of URG-4/URGCP promoter. Because of presence of multiple SP1/GC boxes, promoter constructs were transiently co-transfected with SP1 expression vector to determine the effect of SP1 on URG-4/URGCP promoter activity. Co-transfection analyses induced the basal activity of -268/+63, -344/+63 and -482/+63 constructs. EMSA analysis of GC-4, GC-5, GC-6 and GC-7 binding sites located in -128/-148 bases, showed two DNA-protein binding complexes. Competition assay and super-shifted complexes indicated these complexes are resulted from SP1 binding. Also, site-directed mutagenesis of potential SP1 binding sites diminished both DNA-protein complexes and SP1-mediated upregulation of URG-4 promoter activity. These findings are valuable for understanding transcriptional regulation of URG4/URGCP that has a pivotal role in cancer progression.