PDE5A gene encodes type 5 phosphodiesterase (PDE5), the principal cGMP-catalyzing enzyme in the penis and the primary target of sildenafil (Viagra). We have isolated a 3.7-kb DNA fragment that contains the human PDE5A gene promoter. The DNA fragment contains a sequence of 234 nucleotides at its 3' end that corresponds to most of the untranslated region of the PDE5A1 mRNA. The remaining 3.5-kb upstream flanking sequence contains no apparent TATA box but has several sequences that resemble binding sequences for transcription factors such as androgen receptor (AR), AP1, AP2, AP4, Sp1, MyoD, Myc, and CArG. In search of promoter activities, we used a luciferase reporter system to examine 10 DNA fragments that cover various regions of the 3.7-kb fragment. We found that a full basal promoter activity was confined to a 139-bp region that includes 78 bp of the PDE5A1-specific first exon. A lesser basal promoter activity was still detectable in a 94-bp fragment that contains the same 78-bp PDE5A1-specific exon plus 16 bp of upstream sequence. Either the 139-bp or the 94-bp promoter fragment responded minimally to cAMP or cGMP (2 mM) stimulation. Longer fragments that contain either a 308-bp 5' extension (from the 138-bp fragment) or a 156-bp 3' extension (all exon sequence) responded at higher levels to cAMP and cGMP stimulation. The 5' and 3' extensions cooperated with each other to provide the highest level of responses to cAMP and cGMP stimulation. DNase I footprint analysis identified four AP2- and two Sp1-binding sites in the 5' extension and four Sp1-binding sites in the 3' extensions. Cyclic AMP and cGMP had similar stimulatory effects on the PDE5A promoter.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.