The mouse p44 mitogen-activated protein kinase (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1) gene: Genomic organization and structure of the 5′-flanking regulatory region

Gilles Pagès, E. Richard Stanley, Maude Le Gall, Anne Brunet, Jacques Pouysségur

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35 Scopus citations


Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) or extracellular signal-regulated kinase are ubiquitous kinases conserved from fungi to mammals. Their activity is regulated by phosphorylation on both threonine and tyrosine, and they play a crucial role in the regulation of proliferation and differentiation. We report here the cloning of the murine p44 MAP kinase (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1) gene, the determination of its intron/exon boundaries, and the characterization of its promoter. The gene spans approximately eight kilo-bases (kb) and can be divided into nine exons and eight introns, each coding region exon containing from one to three of the highly conserved protein kinase domains. Primer extension analysis reveals the existence of two major start sites of transcription located at -183 and -186 base pairs (bp) as well as four discrete start sites for transcription located at -178, -192; -273, and -292 bp of the initiation of translation. However, the start site region lacks TATA-like sequences but does contain initiator-like sequences proximal to the major start sites obtained by primer extension, 1 kb of the promoter region has been sequenced. It contains three putative TATA boxes far upstream of the main start sites region, one AP-1 box, one AP-2 box, one Malt box, one GAGA box, one half serum-responsive element, and putative binding sites for Sp1 (five), GC-rich binding factor (five), CTF-NF1 (one), Myb (one), p53 (two), Ets-1 (one), NF-IL6 (two), MyoD (two), Zeste (one), and hepatocyte nuclear factor-5 (one). To determine the sites critical for the function of the p44 MAPK promoter, we constructed a series of chimeric genes containing variable regions of the 5′-flanking sequence of p44 MAPK gene and the coding region for luciferase. Activity of the promoter, measured by its capacity to direct expression of a luciferase reporter gene, is strong, being comparable with the activity of the Rous sarcoma virus promoter. Progressive deletions of the ∼ 1 kb (-1200/-78) promoter region allowed us to define a minimal region of 186 bp (-284/ -78) that has maximal promoter activity. Within this context, deletion of the AP-2 binding site reduces by 30-40% the activity of the promoter. Further deletion of this minimal promoter that removes the major start sites (-167/-78) surprisingly preserves promoter activity. This result implicates a major role of this region that contains the Sp1 sites. Finally, removal of the major start sites of transcription as well as the Sp1 sites reveals additional promoter activity at the upstream transcription minor start sites (-240/-167), an activity that is enhanced by the upstream cis-acting elements. In summary, our findings reveal a complex pattern of transcriptional regulation of the mouse p44 MAPK promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26986-26992
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 10 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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