Sp1 and Sp3 physically interact and co-operate with GABP for the activation of the utrophin promoter

J Mol Biol. 2001 Mar 9;306(5):985-96. doi: 10.1006/jmbi.2000.4335.


The utrophin gene codes for a large cytoskeletal protein closely related to dystrophin which, in the absence of dystrophin, can functionally substitute it. Utrophin is transcribed by two independently regulated promoters about 50 kb apart. The upstream promoter is TATA-less and contains a functional GABP binding site which, in muscle, restricts the promoter activity to post-synaptic nuclei. Transient transfections analysis of mutant promoters in rhabdomyosarcoma cells showed that the upstream promoter contains three functional GC elements that are recognised by Sp1 and Sp3 factors in vitro. Co-transfections of the promoter with Sp1, Sp3 and GABP factors in Drosophila SL2 Schneider cells, which lack of endogenous Sp factors, demonstrated that both Sp1 and Sp3 are positive regulators of the utrophin promoter and that they activate transcription synergistically with GABP. Consistent with this result, we observed physical interaction of both Sp factors with the GABPalpha subunit in vitro. Functional domain interaction analysis of Sp1 and Sp3 revealed that both factors interact with GABPalpha through their DNA binding zinc finger domain. The modulation and correct interaction between Sp1, Sp3 and GABP in muscle cells may be critical for the regulation of the utrophin promoter, and provide new targets for therapies of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA Footprinting
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • DNA Primers / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • GA-Binding Protein Transcription Factor
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscles / pathology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / metabolism
  • Rhabdomyosarcoma / genetics
  • Sp1 Transcription Factor / metabolism*
  • Sp3 Transcription Factor
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transfection
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Utrophin
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GA-Binding Protein Transcription Factor
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • SP3 protein, human
  • Sp1 Transcription Factor
  • Transcription Factors
  • Utrophin
  • Sp3 Transcription Factor
  • Glutathione Transferase

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