In this paper, we examine the mechanisms that regulate the expression of the heavy (H) ferritin subunit in the colon carcinoma Caco-2 cell line allowed to differentiate spontaneously in vitro. The differentiation process of these cells in continuous culture is accompanied by an accumulation of the mRNA coding for the apoferritin H chain. The analysis of Caco-2 subclones stably transfected with an H-chain promoter-chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) construct revealed that the mRNA increase is paralleled by an enhanced transcription of the H gene, driven by the -100 to +4 region of the H promoter. The H gene transcriptional activation seems to be a specific feature of differentiated Caco-2 cells, since the activity of other promoters did not change upon differentiation. The - 100 to +4 region of the H promoter binds a transcription factor called Bbf (B-box binding factor); electrophoretic-mobility-shift-assay analyses showed that the retarded complex due to Bbf-H promoter interaction is significantly increased in the differentiated cells. We propose that the activation of H-ferritin gene expression may be associated with the establishment of a differentiated phenotype in Caco-2 cells, and that the H-ferritin gene transcriptional upregulation is accompanied by a modification in the activity of the transcription factor Bbf.
|Number of pages||5|
|Publication status||Published - 1995|
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