C/EBPα is a regulator of the UDP glucuronosyltransferase UGT2B1 gene

Antony J. Hansen, Ying Hue Lee, Esta Sterneck, Frank J. Gonzalez, Peter I. Mackenzie

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    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The rat UDP glucuronosyltransferase, UGT2B1, is expressed in the liver where it glucuronidates steroids, environmetnal toxins, and carinogens. A region between -88 and -111 base pairs upstream from the UGT2B1 gene transcription start site contains a CCAAT enhancer binding protein (C/EBP)- like element and was previously shown by Dnase I footprint analysis to bind to proteins in both rat lier and human hepatoma (HepG2) cell nuclear extracts. In this study, the importance of this region in the regulation of the UGT2B1 gene was assessed by functional and DNA binding assays. Varying lengths of the UGT2B1 gene promoter, with and without the C/EBP-like element were fused to the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter gene and transfected into HepG2 cells. Transcriptional activity of the UGT2B1 promoter construct containing the C/EBP-like element was strongly elevated in the presence of a contransfected C/EBPα expression vector. In contrast, no change was observed when an expression vector encoding C/EBPβ was co- transfected with the UGT2B1 promoter constructs. Introduction of point mutation into the C/EBP-like element prevented any C/EBPα-mediated increase in chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity. Gel shift analyses demonstrated that the C/EBP-like element binds a complex of nuclear proteins present in both HepG2 cells and rat liver. The presence of C/EBPα in this complex was confirmed by supershift analysis with antiserum to this factor. These data strongly suggest that the liver-enriched factor C/EBPα binds to, and activates, the UGT2B1 gene promoter. The importance of C/EBPα in the regulation of the homologous mouse UGT2B1 gene was alo assesed in vivo. Transcripts homologous to UGT2B1 were detected in the livers of mice containing intact c/ebpα and c/ebpβ genes and in mice containing a homozygous null mutation in the c/ebpβ gene. In contrast, these transcripts were not detected in mice with a disrupted hepatic c/ebpα gene. These data extend the findings with the rat UGT2B1 gene promoter and establish that C/EBPα, but not C/EBPβ, is an essential transcriptional regulator of the homologous UGT2B1 gene in the mouse.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1027-1033
    Number of pages7
    JournalMolecular Pharmacology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 1998


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