The p450 aromatase gene has a tissue-specific promoter that is regulated by specific transcriptional factors. In rats and humans, a cAMP response element-like sequence (CLS) and an NR5A1/NR5A2 binding sequence have been identified as cis elements in the aromatase promoter; these cis elements mediate cAMP-induced expression in the ovaries and testes. CLS is recognized by a cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) as the principal component. In this study, we performed a gel shift assay to analyze the proteins that interact with the cis-element in Xenopus aromatase. An electrophpretic mobility gel shift assay (EMSA) and matrix-associated laser desorption ionization time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) analysis of the proteins responsible for retarding the mobility of CLS revealed that ATF4 interacted in vitro with CLS in gonadal specific aromatase promoter sequence of Xenopus embryos. Although a significant difference was observed in aromatase mRNA expression between male and female gonads, no difference in the expression of ATF4 was observed between them at stage 50. With regard to aromatase expression in the gonad of Xenopus embryos, ATF4 might act in combination with multiple transcription factors as a trans-element of CLS in place of CREB.
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Vol. 28 • No. 11