Double-stranded RNA activates binding of NF-kappa B to an inducible element in the human beta-interferon promoter

EMBO J. 1989 Apr;8(4):1129-38.


The human beta-interferon promoter contains at least two positive acting domains (PRD I and PRD II). PRD I has been previously shown to stimulate basal transcription and to respond to induction by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA). Here we show that PRD II functions independently as a constitutive element that also responds to induction. A cellular factor that specifically binds to PRD II has been identified, and the levels of this factor increase markedly in extracts from cells treated with dsRNA. The inducible factor has a binding specificity that is indistinguishable from the transcription factor NF-kappa B. As has been shown for NF-kappa B, the PRD II-specific factor can be activated in uninduced extracts by treatment with detergent, suggesting that the inactive state is due to association with an inhibitory factor. Induction by dsRNA therefore provides a novel means for the post-translational activation of NF-kappa B. Potential binding sites for NF-kappa B are present in the 5' flanking regions of a number of genes involved in the immune response, several of which are inducible by dsRNA. These findings demonstrate a role for NF-kappa B in the physiological activation of genes in non-lymphoid cells.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Line
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Deoxycholic Acid / pharmacology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / genetics*
  • NF-kappa B
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects*
  • RNA, Double-Stranded / pharmacology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Interferon Type I
  • NF-kappa B
  • RNA, Double-Stranded
  • Transcription Factors
  • Deoxycholic Acid
  • DNA