An expression vector capable of encoding full-length CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) has been constructed and tested in transient transfection assays for its capacity to activate transcription from the promoter of the serum albumin gene. When tested in cultured hepatoma cells, the C/EBP expression vector achieved potent trans-activation of the albumin promoter. Less substantial activation was observed when the same experiment was conducted using cultured mouse fibroblasts. Expression vectors that encoded defective forms of C/EBP failed to activate the albumin promoter. Moreover, mutated variants of the albumin promoter that lack the C/EBP-binding site failed to be trans-activated. The data are consistent with the interpretation that C/EBP is a bona fide transcription factor. During the course of these experiments it was noted also that C/EBP is more than an order of magnitude less concentrated in cultured hepatoma cells than it is in adult liver cells. Given these findings, we speculate that C/EBP may play a general role in establishing and maintaining the differentiated, nonproliferative state.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology