Transforming growth factor-β1 inhibits rat prolactin promoter activity in GH4 neuroendocrine cells

Kathryn N. Farrow, Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The prototypic member of the transforming growth factor β family is TGFβ1, which is known to be important in extracellular matrix production, cell proliferation, and cell differentiation. Specifically in the pituitary lactotroph, TGFβ1 inhibits prolactin (PRL) peptide secretion, PRL mRNA levels, and PRL gene transcription. To further elucidate the molecular details by which TGFβ1 modulates PRL gene transcription, we used a transient transfection approach to characterize and to map the TGFβ1 inhibitory response element of the rat (r) PRL promoter. Here, we show that TGFβ1 selectively inhibits basal rPRL promoter activity in GH4 cells in a dose- responsive fashion, with an IC50 of 6 pM, and that this inhibition occurs within 6 h after TGFβ1 addition. Using a series of 5' deletion promoter mutants, the TGFβ1 inhibitory response was found to be unaffected by deletion to position -116 and was abrogated by further deletion to -54 in the rPRL promoter. However, on the basis of data from site-specific and linker- scanning mutants of the rPRL promoter, it appears that no single element is sufficient to mediate the TGFβ1 inhibitory effect. Sequence analysis of the -116/-54 region failed to reveal any sequence homology to previously characterized TGFβ response elements. Finally, TGFβ1 failed to alter significantly the endogenous levels of the cell-specific activator protein GHF-1/Pit-1, indicating that the TGFβ1 inhibitory effect is not attributable to diminished levels of GHF-1/Pit-1. Taken together, these data indicate that the TGFβ1 inhibitory response is more complex than previously appreciated, requiring more than one cis-acting element and not always acting via TTGG or GTCTAGAC sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)863-873
Number of pages11
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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