Lysyl oxidase is an extracellular enzyme that controls the maturation of collagen and elastin. Lysyl oxidase and collagen III often show similar expression patterns in fibrotic tissues. Therefore, we investigated the influence of lysyl oxidase overexpression on the promoter activity of human COL3A1 gene. Our results showed that when COS-7 cells overexpressed the mature form of lysyl oxidase, the activity of the human COL3A1 promoter was increased up to an average of 12 times when tested by luciferase reporter assay. The effect was specific, because other promoters were not affected. Moreover, lysyl oxidase effect was abolished by β-aminopropionitrile, a specific inhibitor of its catalytic activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed a binding activity in the region from -101 to -77 that was significantly increased by lysyl oxidase overexpression. The binding was specifically competed by the cold probe, and the mutagenesis of this region abolished both the binding activity in gel retardation and lysyl oxidase stimulation of COL3A1 promoter in transfection experiments. We identified the binding activity as Ku antigen in its two components: Ku80 and Ku70. This study suggests a new coordinated mechanism by which lysyl oxidase might control the development of fibrosis.
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