The androgen receptor (AR) gene promoter does not contain the TATA or CAAT box, but it contains a long (~90-bp) homopurine/homopyrimidine (pur/pyr) stretch immediately upstream of the Sp1-binding GC box site. This pur/pyr stretch is conserved at the same proximal position in the rat, mouse, and human AR gene promoters. Mutation of this region results in a 3-fold decline in promoter activity, indicating an important regulatory function. Examination of the conformational state of the AR pur/pyr region with the single-strand-specific S1 nuclease showed that it is capable of forming a non-B DNA structure involving unpaired single strands. Fine mapping of the S1-sensitive site revealed an unsymmetric cleavage pattern indicative of an intramolecular triple helical H-form DNA conformation. Electrophoretic mobility shift analyses showed that the pur/pyr region of the AR promoter can bind a novel pyrimidine single-strand-specific protein (ssPyrBF) and also a double-strand DNA-binding protein. Both oligonucleotide cross-competition and antibody supershift experiments established that the double-strand binding protein is equivalent to Sp1. Deoxyribonuclease I (DNase I) footprinting analysis showed multiple Sp1-binding to the pur/pyr site and a weaker Sp1 interaction to this region compared with the adjacently located GC box, where Sp1 functions to recruit the TFIID complex. These results suggest that the pur/pyr domain of the AR gene can serve to attract additional Sp1 molecules when it exists in the double-stranded B-DNA conformation. However, binding of ssPyrBF and the resultant stabilization of the non-B DNA structure is expected to prevent its interaction with Sp1. We speculate that in the TATA- less AR gene promoter, multiple weak Sp1 sites at the pur/pyr region adjacent to the GC box can provide a readily available source of this transcription factor to the functional GC box, thereby facilitating the assembly of the initiation complex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology