An endogenous retroviral long terminal repeat is the dominant promoter for human beta 1,3-galactosyltransferase 5 in the colon

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LTRs of endogenous retroviruses are known to affect expression of several human genes, typically as a relatively minor alternative promoter. Here, we report that an endogenous retrovirus LTR acts as one of at least two alternative promoters for the human beta1,3-galactosyltransferase 5 gene, involved in type 1 Lewis antigen synthesis, and show that the LTR promoter is most active in the gastrointestinal tract and mammary gland. Indeed, the LTR is the dominant promoter in the colon, indicating that this ancient retroviral element has a major impact on gene expression. Using colorectal cancer cell lines and electrophoretic mobility-shift assays, we found that hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 (HNF-1) binds a site within the retroviral promoter and that expression of HNF-1 and interaction with its binding site correlated with promoter activation. We conclude that HNF-1 is at least partially responsible for the tissue-specific activation of the LTR promoter of human beta1,3-galactosyltransferase 5. We demonstrate that this tissue-specific transcription factor is implicated in the activation of an LTR gene promoter.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Pharmacology and Toxicology
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12841-12846
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2003
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Molecular Virology (013212007)