Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Molecular Biology and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Characterization of the human Activin-A receptor type II-like kinase 1 (ACVRL1) promoter and its regulation by Sp1

Eva M Garrido-Martin1, Francisco J Blanco1, Africa Fernandez-L12, Carmen Langa1, Calvin P Vary3, Ursula E Lee4, Scott L Friedman4, Luisa M Botella1 and Carmelo Bernabeu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC) and Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Enfermedades Raras (CIBERER), Ramiro de Maeztu 9, 28040 Madrid, Spain

2 Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

3 Center for Molecular Medicine, Maine Medical Center Research Institute, Scarborough, ME, USA

4 Division of Liver Diseases. Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Molecular Biology 2010, 11:51  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-11-51

Published: 29 June 2010

Abstract

Background

Activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) is a Transforming Growth Factor-β (TGF-β) receptor type I, mainly expressed in endothelial cells that plays a pivotal role in vascular remodelling and angiogenesis. Mutations in the ALK1 gene (ACVRL1) give rise to Hereditary Haemorrhagic Telangiectasia, a dominant autosomal vascular dysplasia caused by a haploinsufficiency mechanism. In spite of its patho-physiological relevance, little is known about the transcriptional regulation of ACVRL1. Here, we have studied the different origins of ACVRL1 transcription, we have analyzed in silico its 5'-proximal promoter sequence and we have characterized the role of Sp1 in the transcriptional regulation of ACVRL1.

Results

We have performed a 5'Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (5'RACE) of ACVRL1 transcripts, finding two new transcriptional origins, upstream of the one previously described, that give rise to a new exon undiscovered to date. The 5'-proximal promoter region of ACVRL1 (-1,035/+210) was analyzed in silico, finding that it lacks TATA/CAAT boxes, but contains a remarkably high number of GC-rich Sp1 consensus sites. In cells lacking Sp1, ACVRL1 promoter reporters did not present any significant transcriptional activity, whereas increasing concentrations of Sp1 triggered a dose-dependent stimulation of its transcription. Moreover, silencing Sp1 in HEK293T cells resulted in a marked decrease of ACVRL1 transcriptional activity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated multiple Sp1 binding sites along the proximal promoter region of ACVRL1 in endothelial cells. Furthermore, demethylation of CpG islands, led to an increase in ACVRL1 transcription, whereas in vitro hypermethylation resulted in the abolishment of Sp1-dependent transcriptional activation of ACVRL1.

Conclusions

Our results describe two new transcriptional start sites in ACVRL1 gene, and indicate that Sp1 is a key regulator of ACVRL1 transcription, providing new insights into the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the expression of ACVRL1 gene. Moreover, our data show that the methylation status of CpG islands markedly modulates the Sp1 regulation of ACVRL1 gene transcriptional activity.