Ksp-cadherin gene promoter. I. Characterization and renal epithelial cell-specific activity

Am J Physiol. 1999 Oct;277(4):F587-98. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.1999.277.4.F587.


Kidney-specific cadherin (Ksp-cadherin, cadherin 16) is a novel, kidney-specific member of the cadherin superfamily that is expressed exclusively in the basolateral membrane of renal tubular epithelial cells. To characterize the Ksp-cadherin gene promoter, a lambda bacteriophage clone containing 3.7 kb of the proximal 5' flanking region of the mouse Ksp-cadherin gene was isolated. The transcription initiation site was mapped by RNase protection assays and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and a 709-bp intron was identified within the 5' untranslated region. The proximal 5' flanking region was "TATA-less" but contained other consensus promoter elements including an initiator (Inr), GC boxes, and a CAAT box. Potential binding sites were identified for transcription factors that are involved in tissue-specific gene expression including activator protein-2 (AP-2), hepatocyte nuclear factor-3 (HNF-3), basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP), and GATA factors. Transfection of luciferase reporter plasmids containing 2.6 kb of the 5' flanking region markedly increased luciferase activity in renal epithelial cells (MDCK and mIMCD-3) but not in mesenchymal cells (NIH 3T3 and MMR1). Deletion analysis identified an 82-bp region from -31 to -113 that was essential for promoter activity in transfected renal epithelial cells. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays showed that mIMCD-3 cells contain nuclear proteins that bind to this region of the promoter. Mutational analysis showed that sequences within the HNF-3 consensus site and CAAT box were involved in protein binding and promoter activity. We conclude that the proximal 5' flanking region of the mouse Ksp-cadherin gene contains an orientation-dependent promoter that is kidney epithelial cell specific. The region of the promoter from -113 to -31 is required for transcriptional activity and contains binding sites for nuclear proteins that are specifically expressed in renal epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence / genetics
  • Cadherins / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression*
  • Kidney / cytology
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / physiology
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cadherins
  • Cdh16 protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins