Do products of the myc proto-oncogene play a role in transcriptional regulation of the prothymosin α gene?

P. C. Mol, R. H. Wang, D. W. Batey, L. A. Lee, C. V. Dang, S. L. Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Myc protein has been reported to activate transcription of the rat prothymosin α gene by binding to an enhancer element or E box (CACGTG) located in the first intron (S. Gaubatz et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 14:38533862, 1994). The human prothymosin α gene contains two such motifs: in the promoter region at kb -1.2 and in intron 1, ~2 kb downstream of the transcriptional start site in a region which otherwise bears little homology to the rat gene. Using chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) reporter constructs driven either by the 5-kb human prothymosin α promoter or by a series of truncated promoters, we showed that removal of the E-box sequence had no effect on transient expression of CAT activity in mouse L cells. When intron 1 of the prothymosin a gene was inserted into the most extensive promoter construct downstream of the CAT coding region, a diminution in transcription, which remained virtually unchanged upon disruption of the E boxes, was observed. CAT constructs driven by the native prothymosin α promoter or the native promoter and intron were indifferent to Myc; equivalent CAT activity was observed in the presence of ectopic normal or mutant Myc genes. Similarly, expression of a transiently transfected wild- type prothymosin α gene as the reporter was not affected by a repertoire of myc-derived genes, including myc itself and dominant or recessive negative myc mutants. In COS-1 cells, equivalent amounts of the protein were produced from transfected prothymosin α genes regardless of whether genomic E boxes were disrupted, intron 1 was removed, or a repertoire of myc-derived genes was included in the transfection cocktail. More importantly, cotransfection of a dominant negative Max gene failed to reduce transcription of the endogenous prothymosin α gene in COS cells or the wild-type transfected gene in COS or L cells. Taken together, the data do not support the idea that Myc activates transcription of the intact human prothymosin α gene or reporter constructs that mimic its structure. Rather, they suggest that the human prothymosin α promoter and downstream elements are buffered so as to respond poorly, if at all, to transient fluctuations in transcription factors which regulate other genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6999-7009
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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