We demonstrated, using a transient transfection assay, that the albumin enhancer increased the expression of the albumin promoter in a highly differentiated, simian virus 40 (SV40)-immortalized hepatocyte cell line, CWSV1, but was not functional in two ras-transformed cell lines (NR3 and NR4) derived from CWSV1 by stable transfection with the T24ras oncogene. A transient cotransfection assay showed that T24ras and normal c-Ha-ras were each able to inhibit the activity of the albumin enhancer in an immortal hepatocyte cell line. DNase I footprinting and gel mobility shift assays demonstrated that the DNA binding activities specific to the albumin enhancer were not decreased in the ras-transformed cells. ras also did not diminish the expression of HNF1α, C/EBPα, HNF3α, HNF3β, or HNF3γ but did significantly increase AP-1 binding activity. Three AP-1 binding sites were identified within the albumin enhancer, and DNA binding activities specific to these AP-1 sites were induced in the ras-transformed hepatocytes. Subsequent functional assays showed that overexpression of c-jun and c-fos inhibited the activity of the albumin enhancer. Site-directed mutagenesis of the AP-1 binding sites in the albumin enhancer partially abrogated the suppressing effect of ras and c-jun/c-fos on the enhancer. These functional studies therefore supported the results of the structural studies with AP-1. We conclude that the activity of the albumin enhancer is subject to regulation by ras signaling pathways and that the effect of ras on the albumin enhancer activity may be mediated by AP-1.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology