Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) is a highly conserved 70-residue circulating peptide that mediates many of the systemic growth-promoting effects of GH. This laboratory has found previously that GH rapidly stimulates hepatic IGF-I transcription in hypophysectomized (hypox) rats by activating promoter 1, the major rat IGF-I gene promoter. In this study, the hormonal regulation of IGF-I expression through promoter 2, a minor promoter in most tissues but active in the liver, was investigated. Through use of a sensitive RNase protection assay, GH was shown to rapidly induce the accumulation of correctly initiated transcripts directed by this promoter in hepatic nuclei. Using in vitro DNase-I footprinting, six DNA-protein interactions were identified within promoter 2 with hepatic nuclear extracts from juvenile male hypox rats given a single ip injection of GH or saline 60 min before death. These DNA-protein-binding complexes also were investigated for specificity and for regulation by GH by gel mobility shift assays. All DNA-protein interactions were detected in hepatic nuclear protein extracts from hypox rats and did not change within 15-120 min after GH treatment. These results thus identify and characterize a series of constitutive nuclear protein-binding sites within the second rat IGF-I promoter that may be involved in mediating its transcriptional activity.
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