The human sulfotransferase SULT1A1 gene is regulated in a synergistic manner by Sp1 and GA binding protein

Nadine Hempel, Hongbing Wang, Edward L. LeCluyse, Michael E. McManus, Masahiko Negishi

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43 Scopus citations


Human sulfotransferase SULT1A1 is an important phase II xenobiotic metabolizing enzyme that is highly expressed in the liver and mediates the sulfonation of drugs, carcinogens, and steroids. Until this study, the transcriptional regulation of the SULT1A subfamily had been largely unexplored. Preliminary experiments in primary human hepatocytes showed that SULT1A mRNA levels were not changed in response to nuclear receptor activators, such as dexamethasone and 3-methylcolanthrene, unlike other metabolizing enzymes. Using HepG2 cells, the high activity of the TATA-less SULT1A1 promoter was shown to be dependent on the presence of Sp1 and Ets transcription factor binding sites (EBS), located within -112 nucleotides from the transcriptional start site. The homologous promoter of the closely related SULT1A3 catecholamine sulfotransferase, which is expressed at negligible levels in the adult liver, displayed 70% less activity than SULT1A1. This was shown to be caused by a two-base pair difference in the EBS. The Ets transcription factor GA binding protein (GABP) was shown to bind the SULT1A1 EBS and could transactivate the SULT1A1 promoter in Drosophila melanogaster S2 cells. Cotransfection of Sp1 could synergistically enhance GABP-mediated activation by 10-fold. Although Sp1 and GABP alone could induce SULT1A3 promoter activity, the lack of the EBS on this promoter prevented a synergistic interaction between the two factors. This study reports the first insight into the transcriptional regulation of the SULT1A1 gene and identifies a crucial difference in regulation of the closely related SULT1A3 gene, which accounts for the two enzymes' differential expression patterns observed in the adult liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1690-1701
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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