Transcriptional Activation of Psoriasis‐Associated Cytokeratin K17 by Interferon‐γ: Analysis of γ‐Interferon Activation Sites

Ulrich Vogel, Bernd Denecke, Sergey M. Troyanovsky, Rudolf E. Leube, Erik C. Böttger*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The acid cytokeratin K17 is inducible by interferon‐γ (IFN‐γ), a characteristic unique for cytokeratins analysed so far. In this report, we analysed the molecular basis of K17 expression by IFN‐γ in epithelial cells. The 5′‐flanking region of the K17 gene (positions −1762 to −13). cloned in front of a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) reporter gene construct, conferred responsiveness to IFN‐γ but not IFN‐α in transient transfection assays. Sequence analysis revealed three putative γ‐interferon activation sites (GAS). Band‐shift assays and transient transfections with CAT reporter gene constructs were used to characterize and to dissect the functional importance of each of the putative GAS elements. In the band shift assay, GAS3 (positions −1528 to −1515) was found to bind GAF/STAT91 and to compete with tryptophanyl‐tRNA synthetase (IFP53/WRS)‐GAS for binding to GAF; in contrast, GAS1 (positions −183 to −171) and GAS2 (positions −290 to −277) were neither able to bind to nor to compete for GAF/STAT91. However, deletion constructs and mutational analysis of CAT reporter gene constructs harbouring the 5′‐flanking region (positions −1762 to −111) in front of the heterologous promoter revealed that the distal GAS3 site was dispensible, but that alteration of the GAS1 element rendered the promoter uninducible by IFN‐γ. Surprisingly, transfection of a CAT‐reporter gene construct harbouring a promoter segment (positions –111 to +13) devoid of the GAS elements revealed enhanced CAT‐gene expression upon IFF‐γ treatment. The interaction of GAS1 with the interferon‐responsive promoter region in the physiological context remains to be clarified.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Biochemistry
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1995


  • Cytokeratin K17
  • STAT91
  • interferon
  • transcription regulation
  • γ‐interferon activation sites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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