The mouse and human urocortin genes (Ucn and UCN, respectively) have been isolated, characterized, and found to have very similar structures. Each has two exons, and the entire coding region is located in the second exon, as is the case for the gene of the related peptide, corticotropin-releasing factor. Several putative transcription factor-binding sites were identified in each of the urocortin promoters, including a TATA box, a cyclic AMP response element (CRE), GATA-binding sites, and a C/EBP-binding site as well as a Brn-2-binding site(s). Sequence analyses of the mouse and human genes also revealed the presence of a previously identified gene, Mpv17, in the 5' region upstream of the urocortin gene. Functional studies following transient transfection of urocortin reporter plasmids in PC12 cells revealed that the urocortin promoter is controlled by both positive and negative elements; the CRE is important for basal activity as well as responsiveness to forskolin stimulation.
Copyright 1998 Academic Press.