FER-1, an enhancer of the ferritin H gene and a target of E1A-mediated transcriptional repression

Yoshiaki Tsuji, Naoki Akebi, T. K. Lam, Yusaku Nakabeppu, Suzy V. Torti, Frank M. Torti

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Ferritin, the major intracellular iron storage protein of eucaryotic cells, is regulated during inflammation and malignancy. We previously reported that transcription of the H subunit of ferritin (ferritin H) is negatively regulated by the adenovirus E1A oncogene in mouse NIH 3T3 fibroblasts (Y. Tsuji, E. Kwak, T. Saika, S.V. Torti, and F.M. Torti, J. Biol. Chem. 268:7270-7275, 1993). To elucidate the mechanism of transcriptional repression of the ferritin H gene by E1A, a series of deletions in the 5' flanking region of the mouse ferritin H gene were constructed, fused to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene, and transiently cotransfected into NIH 3T3 cells with an E1A expression plasmid. The results indicate that the E1A-responsive region is located approximately 4.1 kb 5' to the transcription initiation site of the ferritin H gene. Further analyses revealed that a 37-bp region, termed FER-1, is the target of E1A-mediated repression. This region also serves as an enhancer, augmenting ferritin H transcription independently of position and orientation. FER-1 was dissected into two component elements, i.e., a 22-bp dyad symmetry element and a 7-bp AP1-like sequence. Insertion of these DNA sequences into a ferritin H-CAT chimeric gene lacking an E1A-responsive region indicated that (i) the 22-bp dyad symmetry sequence by itself has no enhancer activity, (ii) the AP1-like sequence has moderate enhancer activity which is repressed by E1A, and (iii) the combination of the dyad symmetry element and the AP1-like sequence is required for maximal enhancer activity and repression by E1A. Gel retardation assays and cotransfection experiments with c-fos and c-jun expression vectors suggested that members of the Fos and Jun families bind to the AP1-like element of FER-1 and contribute to its regulation. In addition, gel retardation assays showed that E1A reduces the ability of nuclear proteins to bind to the AP1-like sequence without affecting the levels of nuclear factors that recognize the 22-bp dyad symmetry element. Taken together, these results demonstrate that FER-1 serves as both an enhancer of ferritin H transcription and a target for E1A-mediated repression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5152-5164
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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