Background: The LAT gene encodes an intracellular adaptor protein that links cell-surface receptor engagement to numerous downstream signalling events, and thereby plays an integral role in the function of cell types that express the gene, including T cells, mast cells, natural killer cells, and platelets. To date, the mechanisms responsible for the transcriptional regulation of this gene have not been investigated.
Results: In this study we have mapped the transcriptional start sites for the human LAT gene and localized the 5' and 3' boundaries of the proximal promoter. We find that the promoter contains both positive and negative regulatory regions, and that two binding sites for the Ets family of transcription factors have a strong, positive effect on gene expression. Each site binds the Ets family member Elf-1, and overexpression of Elf-1 augments LAT promoter activity. The promoter also contains a Runx binding site adjacent to one of the Ets sites. This site, which is shown to bind Runx-1, has an inhibitory effect on gene expression. Finally, data is also presented indicating that the identified promoter may regulate cell-type specific expression.
Conclusion: Collectively, these results provide the first insights into the transcriptional regulation of the LAT gene, including the discovery that the Ets transcription factor Elf-1 may play a central role in its expression.