UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A6 (UGT1A6), a key enzyme catalyzing the glucuronidation of small planar phenols and amines, is expressed in a tissue- and inducer-dependent manner. Expression is high in kidney, gastrointestinal tract, and induced liver, with low expression in spleen, lung, and ovary. Exposure to certain chemicals, such as 3-methylcholanthrene, benzo[a]pyrene, beta-naphthoflavone, and oltipraz elevates UGT1A6 mRNA in liver and to a lesser extent gastrointestinal tract and kidney, but not in other tissues. The mechanisms underlying this complex pattern of expression have been elusive. We have identified a new type of UGT1A6 mRNA (class 2) that differs in its 5' untranslated sequence. The class 2 transcript is the more abundant type expressed in liver, gastrointestinal tract, and kidney. Transcription of the class 2 mRNA is initiated 107 bases 5' of the UGT1A6 coding exon. The promoter region flanking the transcription start site contains an HNF1-like binding site identical to that in the human UGT1A6 gene. Both class 1 and class 2 mRNAs were elevated in liver by 3-methylcholanthrene, benzo[a]pyrene, beta-naphthoflavone, and oltipraz, with preferential elevation of class 1 occurring after 3-methylcholanthrene and benzo[a]pyrene treatment. These data suggest that transcription from a second promoter contributes to tissue- and inducer-specific expression of rat UGT1A6.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.