Regulation of the promoter activity of interferon regulatory factor-7 gene. Activation by interferon and silencing by hypermethylation

Runqing Lu, Wei Chun Au, Wen Shuz Yeow, Nathan Hageman, Paula M. Pitha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


The molecular mechanism by which virus induces expression of the early inflammatory genes has not yet been completely elucidated. Previous studies indicated that the virus-mediated transcription of type I interferon (IFN) genes required activation of two members of IFN regulatory factor (IRF) family, IRF-3 and IRF-7, where the expression of IRF-7 was found to be indispensable for the induction of IFNA genes. To determine the factors that regulate expression of IRF-7 gene, as well as its inducibility by type I IFNs, we have isolated and characterized the promoter and first intron of the human IRF-7 gene. This region shows a presence of two potential interferon-sensitive response elements (ISRE/IRF-E). However, only the ISRE present in the first intron was functional and conferred interferon inducibility in a transient transfection assay. Using a pull-down assay with an oligodeoxynucleotide corresponding to this ISRE immobilized to magnetic beads, we have demonstrated that this ISRE binds ISGF3 complex and IRF-1 from the extract of IFN-treated cells but not from the untreated cells. We have further shown that the previously observed lack of expression of IRF-7 in 2fTGH fibrosarcoma cell line, correlated with hypermethylation of the CpG island in the human IRF-7 promoter. The repression of the promoter activity was relieved by treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azadeoxycytidine. In vitro methylation of IRF-7 promoter silenced IRF-7 directed expression of luciferase gene in HeLa cells that express endogenous IRF-7 gene. Whether silencing of IRF-7 by methylation is instrumental for the process of tumorigenesis remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31805-31812
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 13 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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