PURPOSE. To identify novel transcriptional regulators of rhodopsin expression as a model for understanding photoreceptor-specific gene regulation. METHODS. A bovine retinal cDNA library was screened in a yeast one-hybrid assay, with a 29-bp bovine rhodopsin promoter fragment as bait. Expression studies used RT-PCR and β-galactosidase (LacZ) histochemistry of retinas from transgenic mice heterozygous for a targeted LacZ replacement of KLF15. Promoter transactivation assays measured luciferase expression in HEK293 cells transiently transfected with bovine rhodopsin or IRBP promoter-reporter constructs and expression constructs containing cDNAs for full or truncated KLF15, Crx (cone rod homeobox), and/or Nrl (neural retina leucine zipper). Data were analyzed with general linear models. RESULTS. The zinc-finger transcription factor KLF15 was identified as a rhodopsin-promoter-binding protein in a yeast one-hybrid screen. Expression was detected by RT-PCR in multiple tissues, including the retina, where KLF15-LacZ was observed in the inner nuclear layer, ganglion cell layer, and pigmented epithelial cells, but not in photoreceptors. KLF15 repressed transactivation of rhodopsin and IRBP promoters alone and in combination with the transcriptional activators Crx and/or Nrl. Repressor activity required both a 198-amino-acid element in the N-terminal domain and the C-terminal zinc finger DNA-binding domains. CONCLUSIONS. The zinc finger containing transcription factor KLF15 is a transcriptional repressor of the rhodopsin and IRBP promoters in vitro and, in the retina, is a possible participant in repression of photoreceptor-specific gene expression in non-photoreceptor cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sensory Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience