Transcriptional control of the heme oxygenase gene in mouse M1 cells during their TPA-induced differentiation into macrophages

Shun Ichi Kurata, Midori Matsumoto, Hiroshi Nakajima

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It has long been known that heme oxygenase (HO) is a key enzyme in heme catabolism and recently it was also found to acts as an oxidative stress protein to produce carbon monoxide (CO), which has similar actions to those of nitrogen monoxide (NO). Therefore, we examined transcriptional control of the HO gene in mouse M1 (myeloleukemia) cells during their differentiation into macrophages. Since the promoter region of this gene is known to have a TPA-responsive element (TRE), its expression might be regulated by a C- kinase signal transduction pathway. Then we investigated the activation of the HO gene after treatment of M1 cells with TPA and inhibitors of C- kinase. When M1 cells were treated with TPA, they differentiated into macrophage-like cells. Upon treatment with TPA, H2O2 was produced first, the nuclear proto-oncogenes fos and jun were activated, and then the HO gene was activated. The extent of transcriptional activation of the fos, jun, and HO genes in M1 cells treated with TPA was reduced by a specific inhibitor of C-kinase and a scavenger of oxygen radicals. When M1 cells were treated with H2O2, essentially the same level of transcription of the HO gene was observed, but the extent of transcriptional activation of the fos and jun genes was about half of the treatment with TPA. Super-shift assays using the TRE of the HO gene revealed that the Fos and Jun proteins from nuclei of M1 cells treated with TPA bound to the TRE, and same assays using DNA with the NF-κB motif also revealed that the active NF-κB protein from M1 cells treated with H2O2 or TPA also bound to the corresponding motif. These results strongly suggest that the HO gene in M1 cells is activated by TPA through a production of H2O2, an oxidative activation pathway of NF-κB, and a signal-transduction pathway that involves C-kinase during the differentiation of macrophages that occurs upon treatment with TPA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-324
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Biochemistry
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1996 Sep 1
Externally publishedYes



  • HO
  • M1 cell
  • TPA
  • heme oxygenase
  • transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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