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Transcriptional activation of hTERT, the human telomerase reverse transcriptase, by nuclear factor of activated T cells.

ABSTRACT: Telomerase is essential for telomere maintenance, and its activation is thought to be a critical step in cellular immortalization and tumorigenesis. Human telomerase reverse transcriptase (hTERT) is a major component of telomerase activity. We show here that hTERT is expressed soon after lymphocyte activation and that its expression is inhibited by rapamycin, wortmannin, and FK506, which was the most potent inhibitor. These results suggest a potential role for the transcription factor nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) in the regulation of hTERT expression. Five putative NFAT-binding sites were identified in the hTERT promoter. In luciferase assays, the hTERT promoter was activated by overexpressed NFAT1. Moreover, serial deletions revealed that the promoter activation was mainly due to a -40 NFAT1-binding site flanked by two SP1-binding sites. Mutation of the -40 NFAT-binding site caused a 53% reduction in the transcriptional activity of hTERT promoter. Simultaneous mutations of the -40 NFAT-responsive element together with one or both SP1-binding sites led to a more dramatic decrease in luciferase activity than single mutations, suggesting a functional synergy between NFAT1 and SP1 in hTERT transcriptional regulation. NFAT1 overexpression in MCF7 and Jurkat cell lines induced an increase in endogenous hTERT mRNA expression. Inversely, its down-regulation was induced by NFAT1 silencing. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that NFAT1 directly binds to two sites (-40 and -775) in the endogenous hTERT promoter. Thus, we show for the first time the direct involvement of NFAT1 in the transcriptional regulation of hTERT.


PROVIDER: S-EPMC2791003 | BioStudies | 2009-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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