A composite Ets/Pit-1 binding site in the prolactin gene can mediate transcriptional responses to multiple signal transduction pathways

Paul W. Howard, Richard A. Maurer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Binding sites for the tissue-specific transcription factor, Pit-1, are required for basal and hormonally induced prolactin gene transcription. Although Pit-1 is phosphorylated in response to several signaling pathways, the mechanism by which Pit-1 contributes to hormonal induction of gene transcription has not been defined. Recent reports suggest that phosphorylation of Pit-1 may not be required for hormonal regulation of the prolactin promoter. Analysis of the contribution of individual Pit-1 binding sites has been complicated due to the fact that some of the elements appear to be redundant. To better understand the role of Pit-1 sites in mediating hormonal regulation of the prolactin gene, we have performed enhancer tests using the three most proximal Pit-1 binding sites of the rat prolactin gene which are designated the 1P, 2P, and 3P sites. The results demonstrate that multimers of the 3P Pit-1 binding site are much more responsive to several hormonal and intracellular signaling pathways than multimers of the 1P or 2P sites. The 3P DNA element was found to contain a consensus binding site for the Ets family of proteins. Mutation of the Ets binding site greatly decreased the ability of epidermal growth factor, phorbol esters, Ras, or the Raf kinase to induce reporter gene activity. Mutation of the Ets site had little effect on basal enhancer activity. In contrast, mutation of the consensus Pit-1 binding site in the 3P element essentially abolished all basal enhancer activity. Overexpression of Ets-1 in GH3 pituitary cells enhanced both basal and Ras induced activity from the 3P enhancer. These data describe a composite element in the prolactin gene containing binding sites for two different factors and the studies suggest a mechanism by which Ets proteins and Pit-1 functionally cooperate to permit transcriptional regulation by different signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)20930-20936
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 8 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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