Alternate activation of two divergently transcribed mouse genes from a bidirectional promoter is linked to changes in histone modification

Bernd Schuettengruber, Angelika Doetzlhofer, Karin Kroboth, Erhard Wintersberger, Christian Seiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Thymidine kinase (TK) is a growth factor-inducible enzyme that is highly expressed in proliferating mammalian cells. Expression of mouse TK mRNA is controlled by transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms including antisense transcription. Here we report the identification of a novel gene that is divergently transcribed from the bidirectional TK promoter. This gene encodes kynurenine formamidase (KF), an enzyme of the tryptophan metabolism. Whereas the TK gene is induced upon interleukin-2-mediated activation of resting T cells, the KF gene becomes simultaneously repressed. The TK promoter is regulated by E2F, SP1, histone acetyltransferases, and deacetylases. The binding site for the growth-regulated transcription factor E2F is beneficial for TK promoter activity but not required for KF expression. In contrast, the SP1 binding site is crucial for transcription in both directions. Inhibition of histone deacetylases by trichostatin A leads to increased histone acetylation at the TK/KF promoter and thereby to selective activation of the TK promoter and simultaneous shut-off of KF expression. Similarly, TK gene activation by interleukin-2 is linked to histone hyperacetylation, whereas KF expression correlates with reduced histone acetylation. The KF gene is the rare example of a mammalian gene whose expression is linked to histone hypoacetylation at its promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1784-1793
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume278
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 17 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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