Transcriptional regulation of human UGT1A1 gene expression through distal and proximal promoter motifs: implication of defects in the UGT1A1 gene promoter

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2008 Jun;377(4-6):597-605. doi: 10.1007/s00210-007-0226-y. Epub 2008 Jan 3.


Human UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT)1A1 is a critical enzyme responsible for detoxification and metabolism of endogenous and exogenous lipophilic compounds, such as potentially neurotoxic bilirubin and the anticancer drug irinotecan SN-38, via conjugation with glucuronic acid. A 290-bp distal enhancer module, phenobarbital-responsive enhancer module of UGT1A1 (gtPBREM), fully accounts for constitutive androstane receptor (CAR)-, pregnane X receptor (PXR)-, glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-, and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR)-mediated activation of the UGT1A1 gene. This study indicates that hepatocyte nuclear factor 1alpha (HNF1alpha) bound to the proximal promoter motif not only enhances the basal reporter activity of UGT1A1, including the distal (-3570/-3180) and proximal (-165/-1) regions, but also influences the transcriptional regulation of UGT1A1 by CAR, PXR, GR, and AhR to markedly enhance reporter activities. Moreover, we assessed the influence of the TA repeat polymorphism and gtPBREM T-3279G mutation on transcriptional activation of UGT1A1 by CAR, PXR, GR, and AhR. Transcriptional activation of the A(TA)(7)TAA mutant by CAR, the PXR activator rifampicin, the GR activator dexamethasone, and the AhR activator benzo[a]pyrene was more reduced than that of the T-3279G variant, and the activity of the UGT1A1 promoter with both T-3279G and A(TA)(7)TAA mutations was still lower. Thus, UGT1A1 gene promoter variations, including the TA repeat polymorphism and T-3279G gtPBREM, have important clinical implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Constitutive Androstane Receptor
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / genetics*
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia / genetics
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Pregnane X Receptor
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid / metabolism
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Constitutive Androstane Receptor
  • Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor 1-alpha
  • Pregnane X Receptor
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Glucocorticoid
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Transcription Factors
  • UGT1A1 enzyme
  • Glucuronosyltransferase