Repression of transcription mediated by dual elements in the CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α gene

Qi Qun Tang, Man Shiow Jiang, M. Daniel Lane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


During adipocyte differentiation, the expression of C/EBPα is activated, which in turn serves to transcriptionally activate numerous adipocyte genes. A previous search for cis elements that regulate transcription of the C/EBPα gene led to the identification of a potential repressive element within the proximal 5' flanking region of the gene. Nuclear extracts from 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, but not adipocytes, were found to contain n factor, CUP (C/EBPα undifferentiated protein), that binds to this site (the CUP-1 site). In the present investigation, we show that C/EBPα promoter-luciferase constructs containing both the proximal 5' flanking and the entire 5' untranslated regions of the gene exhibit an expression pattern during adipocyte differentiation comparable to that of the endogenous C/EBPα gene. Mutation of the CUP-1 site in these constructs had little effect on reporter gene expression; however, when this mutation was combined with deletion of the 5' untranslated region, reporter gene expression by preadipocytes was dramatically up-regulated. Consistent with this finding, a second CUP binding site (the CUP-2 site) was identified in the 5' untranslated region. Although mutation of either CUP element in constructs containing both the 5' flanking and 5' untranslated region had little effect on reporter gene transcription, mutation of both CUP elements markedly activated transcription. Thus, it appears that dual CUP regulatory elements repress transcription of the C/EBPα gene prior to induction of the adipocyte differentiation program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13571-13575
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 9 1997


  • 3T3-L1 cells
  • Adipocyte
  • C/EBPα undifferentiated protein
  • Differentiation adipose
  • Preadipocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • General


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