MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY, July 1996, p. 3490–3503 Vol. 16, No. 70270-7306/96/$04.0010Copyright q 1996, American Society for Microbiology
The Lipopolysaccharide-Binding Protein Is a Secretory Class 1Acute-Phase Protein Whose Gene Is Transcriptionally
Activated by APRF/STAT-3 and OtherCytokine-Inducible Nuclear Proteins
R. R. SCHUMANN,1 C. J. KIRSCHNING,1 A. UNBEHAUN,1 H. ABERLE,2 H.-P. KNOPF,2
N. LAMPING,1 R. J. ULEVITCH,3 AND F. HERRMANN4*
Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, D-13122 Berlin,1 Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology,D-70923 Freiburg,2 and Department of Hematology, Oncology, Clinical Immunology, and Infectious
Diseases, University of Ulm, D-89081 Ulm,4 Germany, and Department of Immunology,The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 920373
Received 16 January 1996/Returned for modification 16 February 1996/Accepted 3 April 1996
Acute-phase reactants (APRs) are proteins synthesized in the liver following induction by interleukin-1(IL-1), IL-6, and glucocorticoids, involving transcriptional gene activation. Lipopolysaccharide-binding protein(LBP) is a recently identified hepatic secretory protein potentially involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis,capable of binding the bacterial cell wall product endotoxin and directing it to its cellular receptor, CD14. Inorder to examine the transcriptional induction mechanisms by which the LBP gene is activated, we haveinvestigated the regulation of expression of its mRNA in vitro and in vivo as well as the organization of 5*upstream regulatory DNA sequences. We show that induction of LBP expression is transcriptionally regulatedand is dependent on stimulation with IL-1b, IL-6, and dexamethasone. By definition, LBP thus has to be viewedas a class 1 acute-phase protein and represents the first APR identified which is capable of detecting patho-genic bacteria. Furthermore, cloning of the LBP promoter revealed the presence of regulatory elements, includ-ing the common APR promoter motif APRE/STAT-3 (acute-phase response element/signal transducer and acti-vator of transcription 3). Luciferase reporter gene assays utilizing LBP promoter truncation and point mutationvariants indicated that transcriptional activation of the LBP gene required a functional APRE/STAT-3 bindingsite downstream of the transcription start site, as well as an AP-1 and a C/EBP (CCAAT enhancer-binding pro-tein) binding site. Gel retardation and supershift assays confirmed that upon cytokine stimulation APRF/STAT-3binds to its recognition site, leading to strong activation of the LBP gene. Unraveling of the mechanism oftranscriptional activation of the LBP gene, involving three known transcription factors, may contribute to ourunderstanding of the acute-phase response and the pathophysiology of sepsis and septic shock.
The acute-phase response results from a complex series ofreactions aimed at reconstituting the homeostatic state of theorganism following injury, trauma, or infection (6). Upon dis-turbance of homeostasis, the local release of mediators, se-creted predominantly by tissue macrophages, appears to be thefirst step that leads to a systemic reaction of the body (28).Macrophage-derived cytokines activate the vascular endothe-lium and tissue-resident stroma cells to release chemotacticfactors that spur the accumulation of inflammatory cells, whichthen act as additional sources of proinflammatory cytokines(35). Besides the brain, in which the temperature setpoint inthe hypothalamus is adjusted, and the adrenal-pituitary axis,which is activated for production of corticosteroids, the liver isthe central organ regulating the acute-phase response by re-leasing specific acute-phase reactants (APRs) (17). Activationof hepatocytes for release of APRs has been recently examinedat the levels of ligand-receptor interaction and signal transduc-tion (55). Interleukin-1 (IL-1) and IL-6 were shown to be themajor inducers of APRs in hepatocytes by acting either aloneor in synergy with dexamethasone or tumor necrosis factoralpha (TNF-a) (21, 42).So far, two types of acute-phase proteins have been identi-
fied and classified according to their predominant inducers:class 1 APRs, induced by IL-1 in synergy with IL-6, includeC-reactive protein (CRP), serum amyloids A and P (SAA andSAP), a1-acid glycoprotein, haptoglobin, and hemopexin; andclass 2 APRs, induced by IL-6 only, include the three chains offibrinogen, a2-macroglobulin, and various antiproteases. Sim-ilarly, expression of APRs can be induced by stimulating hepa-tocytes with leukemia inhibitory factor, oncostatin M, ciliaryneurotrophic factor, and IL-11 (22, 54), which share with theIL-6 receptor a gp130 subunit and thus exhibit a spectrum ofbiological activities similar to that of IL-6 (31, 52).Over the past few years, it has been shown that expression of
APRs during induction of the acute phase is transcriptionallyregulated (1, 47). This notion was substantiated by the findingthat the promoters of acute-phase protein genes containedcommon regulatory elements capable of activating transcrip-tion of APR genes upon binding of the respective transcriptionfactors. A regulatory element that was found to be crucial foralmost all acute-phase protein genes is the APRE/STAT-3(acute-phase response element/signal transducer and activatorof transcription 3) binding site (36, 63). The structure of thetranscription factor recognizing this site, termed acute-phaseresponse factor (APRF) or STAT-3, was recently identified asa member of the family of signal transducers and activators oftranscription (STAT family) (4, 65). Like other members ofthis protein family, APRF/STAT-3 was shown to be induced
* Corresponding author. Mailing address: Medizinische Universitats-klinik, Robert-Koch-Str. 8, D-89081 Ulm, Germany. Phone: 49-731-502-4400. Fax: 49-731-502-4493.
via activation of Janus kinases (13, 38, 51). Another class ofregulatory elements found in all APR promoters is theCCAAT enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP) family of tran-scription factors. This group of transcription factors, whichincludes NF-IL6 (LAP, IL-6DBP, AGP/EBP, C/EBPb, orCRP-2) and C/EBPa, -g, and -d, can confer activation by IL-1and IL-6 via heterodimerization through the b-ZIP region andsubsequent binding to a consensus sequence in acute-phasepromoters (2, 30, 32). Also, glucocorticoid-responsive ele-ments (GRE) were found to be involved in the regulation ofAPR genes (7, 39).The functions of APRs such as a1-antitrypsin, fibrinogen, or
haptoglobin have been identified and include tissue repair,modulation of coagulation, and metal binding. However, therole of other major APRs, i.e., CRP, SAP, and SAA, is stillunclear (53). Bacterial challenge of the organism is a majorcause for induction of an acute-phase response. It is thereforebelieved that APRs act to fight infection. A possible mecha-nism whereby APRs may counteract bacteremia should involvetheir direct interaction with pathogenic bacteria. So far, onlyCRP has been shown to bind bacteria; however, this bindingmay be nonspecific because of the ability of this APR to bindmany other substances. The reason for release of APRs in thecontext of bacteremia has thus remained enigmatic.The structure and function of a serum protein synthesized in
the liver that is involved in recognition, binding, and transportof the bacterial cell wall compound lipopolysaccharide (LPS),or endotoxin, termed LPS-binding protein (LBP), have re-cently been described (50, 56, 59). This protein binds gram-negative bacteria via the lipid A part of LPS, which has beenviewed as the causative principle for the development of thegram-negative sepsis syndrome in humans (23, 44, 46). LBPdelivers endotoxin to its cellular receptor, the CD14 molecule(26, 43, 48, 64), and enhances LPS-mediated cytokine induc-tion. Therefore, LBP is a protein that appears to be directlyinvolved in the recognition of pathogenic bacteria and may alsobe involved in the pathogenesis of sepsis, as it appears toenhance the systemic release of cytokines and activate thecascade of events leading to septic shock.In order to examine whether LBP meets the criteria of an
APR, we have examined its transcriptional induction pattern,promoter organization, and regulation of expression of its gene.From these experiments, we deduce that LBP is an acute-phaseprotein of the class 1 type specifically involved in the recogni-tion of products of pathogenic bacteria. Furthermore, by pro-moter studies and reporter gene and gel shift assays, we delin-eate the mechanism of transcriptional activation of LBP andthe involvement of certain transcription factors and regulatoryelements.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Culture of HUH-7 cells and RNA extraction. HUH-7 hepatoma cells (kindlyprovided by J. Raynes, School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London,United Kingdom) were kept in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium supple-mented with L-glutamine, antibiotics, and 5% fetal calf serum. Cells used forexperiments were kept in six-well plates and grown to 40 to 70% confluency. Thewells were stimulated with various cytokines for 24 h before cell-free superna-tants were collected. The cells were then washed with phosphate-buffered saline(PBS), and RNA was extracted and processed as follows. A 150-ml volume ofGITC buffer containing 4 M guanidinium isothiocyanate, 0.5% N-laurosylsar-cosine, 25 mM sodium citrate, 0.1 M 2-mercaptoethanol (pH 7.0), and 15 ml of3 M sodium acetate (pH 4.0) was added, and the lysed cell material was scrapedoff the plate and collected in microtubes. At this time, samples were frozen orwere directly prepared by an acid-phenol extraction followed by an isopropanolprecipitation. The RNA was washed twice with 80% ethanol, dried, and dissolvedin 20 ml of sterile water. The optical densities at 260 and 280 nm were measured,and the integrity of the RNA was assessed on an agarose gel. Northern (RNA)blot experiments were then performed as described below.Animals, detection of LBP levels in serum, RNA preparation, and Northern
blot analysis.New ZealandWhite rabbits were subcutaneously injected with 1 mlof a 0.5% AgNO3 solution. Serum was collected at various times, and animalswere sacrificed. LBP levels in serum were determined as described in detailelsewhere (56). Briefly, serum was placed on LPS-coated 96-well plates. BoundLBP was detected by use of a goat-anti-rabbit LBP serum followed by incubationwith a secondary enzyme-coupled antibody and a colorimetric detection proce-dure. Tissues of various organs were processed immediately and snap-frozen inliquid nitrogen. RNA was prepared by homogenizing frozen tissues in a tissuehomogenizer in the presence of guanidinium isothiocyanate as described below.Twenty micrograms of the resulting RNA was run on an agarose gel as describedelsewhere (37) and then transferred to nylon membranes by capillary blottingovernight in 103 SSC (1.5 M NaCl, 150 mM sodium citrate; pH 7.0). RNA wasfixed by being subjected to UV cross-linking (120 s) and baked for 2 h at 808C.Prehybridization was performed at 658C for 1 h with a buffer containing 23 SSC,2% Denhardt’s solution, 2.5% dextran sulfate, 0.1% sodium dodecyl sulfate(SDS), 0.1% Na2H2P2O7, 2 mM EDTA, and 30 mg of salmon sperm DNA perml. The rabbit LBP probe was an ;500-bp cDNA fragment cut with EcoRI andEcoRV. Radioactive labeling of the probe was performed by random priming:5 ml of 32P-labeled dCTP (Amersham; 3,000 mCi/mmol, 10 mCi/ml) was incu-bated with 50 ng of the cDNA and 10 ml of reagent mix, including hexamericprimers and 1 ml of Klenow enzyme. The probe was isolated with a SephadexG-50 column. The resulting probes had an activity of approximately 2 3 106
cpm/ml. Hybridization was performed overnight at 658C in 50 ml of the bufferdescribed above. After one wash each with 23 SSC–0.1% SDS–0.05%Na2H2P2O7–1 mM EDTA, 13 SSC–0.1% SDS, and 0.43 SSC–0.1% SDS, thefilters were exposed to X-ray films for 1 or 2 days at 2808C with intensifyingscreens.Nonradioactive nuclear run-on transcription assay. Approximately 108 HUH-
7 cells were stimulated at the times indicated below, washed repeatedly in coldPBS, and lysed in lysis buffer containing 10 mM Tris HCl (pH 7.4), 10 nM NaCl,3 mMMgCl2, 1 mM EDTA, 1 mM dithiothreitol (DTT), and 0.5% Nonidet P-40.After centrifugation at 500 3 g and repeated washings, the nuclei were resus-pended in glycerol buffer containing 50 mM Tris HCl (pH 8.3), 40% glycerol, and5 mM MgCl2 and stored at 2208C. For the run-on reaction, nuclei were mixedwith a half-volume of reaction buffer (10 mM Tris HCl [pH 8.0], 5 mM MgCl2,0.3 M KCl, 5 mM DTT, 40 U of RNasin per ml, 0.1 mM phenylmethylsulfonylfluoride [PMSF], 1% bovine serum albumin [BSA], 0.3 mM MgCl2, 0.5 mMATP, CTP, and GTP, and 0.2 mM digoxigenin [DIG]-UTP), and the mixture wasincubated for 30 min at 268C. The run-on reaction was terminated by addition ofDNase I buffer, containing RNasin and tRNA, and an incubation for 15 min at288C was carried out. Next, proteinase K was added in the presence of 1% SDS,and samples were incubated at 378C for 30 min and then subjected to phenol-chloroform extraction and two ethanol precipitations. The purified RNA wasthen hybridized to filters containing 10 mg of slot blotted plasmid DNA contain-ing the LBP and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) insertsor no insert as a negative control. The filters were prehybridized for 1 h at 508Cand separately hybridized with each run-on isolated overnight at 508C in ahybridization buffer containing 50% formamide, 53 SSC, 2% blocking reagent(Boehringer, Mannheim, Germany), 0.1% N-lauroylsarcosine, and 0.02% SDS.The filters were then repeatedly washed for 5 min at room temperature in 23SSC–0.1% SDS and then repeatedly washed at 688C in 0.13 SSC–0.1% SDS.DIG-UTP was detected by an alkaline phosphatase immunoassay and chemilu-minescence as described in the manufacturer’s instructions.Subcloning and sequencing of the LBP promoter. A human foreskin fibroblast
P1 genomic library (Du Pont Merck Pharmaceutical Company) (DMPC-HFFno. 1) was screened by a PCR-based method with two primers designed accord-ing to the 59 118 bp of the LBP cDNA. The sequences of the primers were ATGGGG GCC TTG GCC AGA GC and TGC AGT CCC TTG TCG GTG ATC.The resulting positive clone has accession no. 2672 864B1. This clone, approxi-mately 85 kb in size, was purified and cut with several restriction enzymes forSouthern blot analysis using a radiolabeled 59 LBP cDNA probe. A BamHIfragment giving rise to a signal in the Southern blot analysis was subcloned intoa Bluescript-derived vector and sequenced by cycle sequencing (Sanger method).The primer used was designed according to the 59-terminal region of the cDNAsequence of LBP in the 39-to-59 direction, with the sequence GCA GCA ATGCCA GCA GTA TG (P1). The subsequent sequences were obtained by usingprimers according to the new sequences obtained (primer walking) and com-pared with transcription factor databases.Identification of the transcription start site. RNA from stimulated HUH-7
cells was prepared by the method described above, and 5 mg of RNA wasannealed with 20 ng of two different 6-FAM-labeled oligonucleotides (Perkin-Elmer/Applied Biosystems, Weiterstadt, Germany). These primers were de-signed to be complementary to two regions of the 59 region of the LBP cDNA,46 bp downstream (P1, sequence given above) and 14 bp upstream of the ATGsite, with the sequence TGC AGT GGG CCA GGA CTG TC. The RNA wasreverse transcribed with Moloney murine leukemia virus (MMLV) reverse tran-scriptase (10 U) and then subjected to a phenol-chloroform extraction and anovernight ethanol precipitation. The cDNA product was run on a denaturing 6%polyacrylamide–6 M urea sequencing gel, with a Genescan-500 ROX 35- to500-bp standard in the same lane (Applied Biosystems). The reactions gave riseto two sharp and clearly distinguishable single bands that both corresponded toa site 110 bp upstream of the ATG site as determined by computer analysis.
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3491
Luciferase reporter gene assays. Truncated promoter fragments were con-structed by PCR amplifications using the forward primers indicated in Fig. 3 anda reverse primer complementary to the sequence directly upstream of the ATGsite (CCT AGA TTC CCA GTG CAG TG). In addition, a BamHI site and anXhoI restriction site were introduced. These sites were used to subclone thefragments into a luciferase vector, kindly provided by Heike Pahl, University ofFreiburg, Freiburg, Germany. For detailed information, see reference 40. TheSTAT-3, AP-1, and C/EBP mutations were introduced by PCR amplificationusing forward primers introducing the mutations and the reverse primer men-tioned above. All resulting clones were confirmed by sequencing. Each well of a12-well plate was seeded with 1.5 3 105 HUH-7 cells, and the cells were grownovernight. Cotransfection of the cells with the luciferase vectors containing theLBP promoter fragments and the cytomegalovirus (CMV) plasmids with b-ga-lactosidase plasmids was performed after repeated washings of the cells withLipofectamine reagent (Gibco Life Technologies, Eggenstein, Germany) accord-ing to the manufacturer’s instructions. Briefly, 0.8 mg of DNA diluted in 40 ml ofserum- and antibiotic-free medium was gently mixed with 8 ml of Lipofectaminereagent, diluted in 40 ml of medium, and incubated for 30 min at room temper-ature. A 320-ml volume of medium was added to the mixture, which was thenincubated with the cells for each transfection after repeated washings. The cellswere incubated for 6 h before the medium was removed and a serum-containingmedium was added. After an additional 24 h, the cells were stimulated for theperiods indicated below, washed, and lysed with 140 ml of a lysis buffer containing100 mM K2PO4 (pH 7.8), 0.2% Triton X-100, and 1 mM DTT. After incubationfor 10 min at room temperature, lysed cells were rinsed off and transferred to amicrotube, spun down briefly, and incubated with luciferase reaction buffer. A50-ml volume of lysate was mixed with 180 ml of this buffer, containing 25 mMK2PO4 (pH 7.8), 2 mM ethylene glycol-bis(b-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N9,N9-tet-raacetic acid (EGTA) (pH 8.0), 15 mM MgSO4, 1 mM DTT, and 1 mM ATP.Measurement was done for 10 s in a luminometer (Berthold, Bad Wildbach,Germany) after injection of 50 ml of 10 mM luciferin (Sigma, Deisenhofen,Germany). Simultaneous transfections of separate cell cultures were performedwith the luciferase vector containing a CMV promoter or an empty plasmid, asindicated. Transfection efficacy was normalized by comparison with values ob-tained by measurement of b-galactosidase activity (Galacto-light; Tropix Inc.,Bradford, Mass.) after cotransfection with a plasmid containing the b-galactosi-dase gene under control of a CMV promoter. Inducibility of the cells transfectedwith the promoter constructs was evaluated by comparison of the luciferaseactivity of cytokine-stimulated cells with that of nonstimulated cells transfectedwith the same construct within one experiment. This resulted in the determina-tion of fold induction. At least three independent experiments carried out induplicate were performed.Electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA) and supershift assays. Nuclear
proteins for the STAT-3 gel shift experiments were prepared 15 min afterstimulation with 500 U of IL-6 per ml according to a published protocol (62).Extracts for AP-1 and C/EBP gel shifts were prepared as follows. Forty to 70%confluent HUH-7 cells (approximately 109 cells) were stimulated with cytokinesas described above for 24 h, after the cells were washed once with PBS andscraped off the plates. After an additional washing, the pellet was carefullyresuspended in 6 ml of a buffer containing 10 mM HEPES (N-2-hydroxyethyl-piperazine-N9-2-ethanesulfonic acid) (pH 7.9), 1.5 mM MgCl2, 10 mM KCl, 0.5mM DTT, 0.3 mM sucrose, 0.5 mM PMSF, and 0.1 mM EGTA. After 10 to 20min of incubation on ice, 2 ml of the buffer described above was added to thesuspension, which was then mixed and transferred to a prechilled homogenizer.After 50 to 100 strokes, the suspension was transferred to microtubes andcentrifuged for 2 min at 14,000 rpm in a Microfuge at 48C. The supernatantcontaining the cytosolic proteins was removed, and the pellet was resuspended in3 ml of a buffer containing 20 mM HEPES, 25% glycerol, 0.42 M NaCl, 1.5 mMMgCl2, 0.2 mM EDTA, 0.5 mM PMSF, 0.5 mM DTT, and 0.1 mM EGTA. Thissolution was gently rocked for 30 min at 48C and then centrifuged in a Microfugeat 14,000 rpm for 30 min at 48C. The supernatant was dialyzed for a minimum of6 h with at least one change of buffer against a buffer containing 20 mM HEPES(pH 7.9), 20% glycerol, 100 mM KCl, 0.2 mM EDTA, 0.5 mM PMSF, and 0.5mM DTT. Finally, the solution was centrifuged for 20 min at 14,000 rpm in aMicrofuge at 48C, and the supernatant was snap-frozen in aliquots of 20 to 50 mland stored at 2708C.Gel retardation assays (or EMSA) were performed as described previously
(62). Briefly, after 10 min of preincubation and addition of competitor DNA, ifrequired, 5,000 cpm (10 fmol) of a 32P-labeled, double-stranded synthesizedDNA oligonucleotide probe (see Fig. 8) was added to 2 to 5 mg of the nuclearprotein sample, and the mixture was incubated for another 10 to 30 min at roomtemperature. As a control, labeled oligonucleotides were tested for intrinsic gelshift activity by incubation without nuclear proteins. The oligonucleotides usedfor gel shift assays, if not stated differently, were synthesized on a gene assembler(Pharmacia, Freiburg, Germany), annealed, and gel purified. The sequences ofthe upper strands of the oligonucleotides used were as follows: AP-1 (position2532 of the LBP promoter), T TTA CTG GCA CAC TGA CTC AAT TATGTA TT; C/EBP (position 2446), TGC CAA TTG CCT TCC AGA AAA TTTCAC CA; and STAT-3 (position 198), GGC CCA CTG CAC TGG GAA TCTAGG ATG GG. The competitor oligonucleotide for STAT-3 was the bindingmotif from the rat a2-macroglobulin gene (kindly provided by U. Wegenka, MaxDelbruck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany) with the sequence
GAT CCT TCT GGG AAT TCC TA. The double-stranded oligonucleotide wasalso labeled and used for additional control experiments (see Fig. 8B), demon-strating specificity of the STAT-3 shift. The competitor oligonucleotide for AP-1(obtained from Stratagene, Inc., Heidelberg, Germany) had the sequence CTAGTG ATG AGT CAG CCG GAT C. For C/EBP, the oligonucleotide describedabove was used for competition. The oligonucleotide used for nonspecific com-petition had the sequence GAT CGA ATG CAA ATC ACT AGC T.The samples were mixed with a sample buffer containing 10 mM HEPES, 50
mM KCl, 1 mM EDTA, 5 mMMgCl2, 10% glycerol, 5 mM DTT, 0.7 mM PMSF,1 mg of BSA per ml, and 1 mg of poly(dI-dC) per ml and run on a nondenaturing3% polyacrylamide gel in TEAE buffer (40 mM Tris-HCl, 1 mM EDTA, 5 mMsodium acetate, and 32 mM formic acid) for 1.5 h at 200 V, transferred toWhatman paper, dried, and subjected to autoradiography for 1 to 24 h. For theSTAT-3 supershift analysis, the supershift antibody TransCruz Gel supershiftreagent sc-482X, obtained from Santa Cruz, Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif., was used.The antibody was added to the nuclear proteins after addition of the labeledoligonucleotides. The solution was incubated for 1 h at 48C before gel loadingand electrophoresis.Chemicals and culture reagents. Sodium pyruvate and fetal calf serum were
purchased from Seromed, Biochrom, Berlin, Germany. L-Glutamine, penicillin,streptomycin, amphotericin, and Lipofectamine were from Gibco Life Technol-ogies. Guanidinium isothiocyanate and formamide were obtained from Fluka,Neu-Ulm, Germany. Phenol and Taq polymerase were from Appligene, Heidel-berg, Germany. DIG-UTP, the DIG detection kit, and poly(dI-dC) were fromBoehringer. Chloroform, isoamyl alcohol, isopropanol, sodium acetate, glycer-ine, EDTA, and formaldehyde were purchased from Merck, Darmstadt, Ger-many. [32P]dCTP and Hybond-N membranes were purchased from Amersham-Buchler, Braunschweig, Germany. Twelve-well plates were obtained from Nunc,Roskilde, Denmark. MMLV reverse transcriptase and restriction enzymes werefrom New England Biolabs. 6-FAM-labeled primer and 500-bp Genescan-500ROX-labeled size marker were purchased from ABI. All other chemicals, in-cluding Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium, were from Sigma.Nucleotide sequence accession number. The nucleotide sequence of the hu-
man LBP gene has been submitted to the EMBL database under accession no.X84745.
Induction of LBP protein and transcript synthesis in vivoand in vitro. For experimental in vivo acute-phase induction,New Zealand White rabbits were injected with 1 ml of 0.5%AgNO3. Rabbit serum was collected at various times thereafterand assessed for LBP levels. The results (Fig. 1A) indicate thatthe concentrations of LBP rose approximately 100-fold uponAgNO3 challenge, with the highest levels seen at 24 h. Withinthe next 2 days, LBP concentrations declined, remaining, how-ever, above starting levels at the last time measured (72 h).Next, Northern blot experiments were performed with RNAsfrom different rabbit tissues obtained from animals sacrificedat different times after acute-phase induction. As shown inFig. 1B, RNA prepared from rabbit liver gave a very weakconstitutive LBP signal that could be significantly enhancedby AgNO3 challenge, with a maximum after 24 h. LBP tran-scripts were not detected in other tissues, including thymus,lung, spleen, kidney, adrenal gland, gut, testis, and brain tis-sues, bone marrow, and blood leukocytes (not shown). Thelower band (2.0 kb) seen in the Northern blot obtained fromrabbit tissue was comparable in size to a band also seenfor primary human liver cells (not shown) and hepatoma celllines (see Fig. 3 and 4). This band corresponds exactly to thepredicted size of the LBP transcript according to cDNA se-quencing and determination of the transcription start site (seebelow). A high concentration of IL-6 (5,000 U/ml) in combi-nation with IL-1b gave rise to a faint second band (3.5 kb) inhepatoma cell lines (Fig. 1C) that was also detectable in rabbittissues (Fig. 1B). Exact identification of the nature of this3.5-kb band requires further experimentation, which is underway.To examine the spectrum of cytokines inducing LBP tran-
script synthesis in vitro, the hepatoma cell line HUH-7 wasinstrumental. A combination of proinflammatory cytokinesknown to induce APRs was used, and LBP transcripts wereanalyzed by Northern blotting. To examine whether LBP rep-
3492 SCHUMANN ET AL. MOL. CELL. BIOL.
resents a class 1 APR, HUH-7 cells were stimulated with in-creasing concentrations of recombinant IL-1b either alone orin combination with IL-6. Figure 1C shows that LBP tran-scripts could be induced by as little as 50 U of IL-1b per ml andthat this effect was strongly enhanced by addition of IL-6 in away typical for class 1 acute-phase proteins. IL-6 also inducedLBP transcript accumulation in HUH-7 cells, and addition ofdexamethasone at a concentration of 1 mM enhanced thiseffect (Fig. 1D). Enhancement of IL-6-mediated APR-induc-tion by dexamethasone is characteristic for acute-phase pro-teins and is most likely due to upregulation of the IL-6 recep-tor. TNF-a and IL-1b were also acting synergistically with IL-6in inducing LBP transcription. Reference acute-phase proteingenes (encoding albumin, haptoglobin, and C3) were includedin our analysis as well, confirming that the pattern of LBPinduction was similar to that of a class 1-type APR (notshown). Overall, although IL-6 alone is able to induce LBP, theinducibility by IL-1 alone and the synergistic activity of IL-1band IL-6 indicate that LBP behaves like a class 1 APR.Nuclear run-on transcription assay. In order to examine
whether the increase in LBP transcript levels was the result ofan enhanced rate of gene transcription, a nonradioactive nu-clear run-on technique with DIG-labeled nucleotides was em-ployed. Nuclear extracts of HUH-7 cells stimulated with IL-6,IL-1b, and dexamethasone were prepared and incubated for 30min in the presence of DIG-labeled UTP. RNA was then
isolated and hybridized to DNA containing the LBP cDNA.Controls were performed with GAPDH cDNA and vectorDNA lacking an insert. Detection of the hybrids was carriedout with DIG-labeled antibodies and an enzymatic color reac-tion. The results, shown in Fig. 2, indicate that LBP transcrip-tion was induced approximately 3.7-fold at 24 h. The kineticscorrespond to that seen in the Northern blot experiments. Thistranscriptional activation, however, appeared to be weakerthan the induction seen in Northern blot experiments, so thataccumulation of LBP transcripts apparently occurred as a re-sult of both transcriptional and posttranscriptional mecha-nisms. Posttranscriptional and transcriptional expression con-trol has also been shown for other acute-phase proteins of theliver (6).Cloning of the LBP promoter and identification of the tran-
scription start site. After it was shown that the increase in LBPtranscripts occurred at least in part as a result of transcrip-tional gene activation, the 59-flanking region of the LBP genewas isolated for promoter analysis. A fragment of 4.5 kb cor-responding to the 59 untranslated region of the LBP gene wasisolated from an approximately 85-kDa genomic clone andsubcloned, and ;1.1 kb was sequenced. Figure 3A shows the1-kb 59-flanking region of the LBP gene with a total of 11(C)CAAT or reverse (C)CAAT boxes [ATTG(G)], the tran-scription start site, and the ATG site of the coding region. Acanonical TATA box, however, was not found within the re-
FIG. 1. LBP protein and transcript levels during the acute phase in vivo and in vitro. (A) LBP levels in serum were assessed in New Zealand White rabbits injectedwith 1 ml of a 0.5% AgNO3 solution at the times indicated. LPS binding was assayed as described in Materials and Methods. Shown are mean values of four experiments6 standard deviations. (B) Animals were sacrificed at the times indicated below the gel, and liver tissues (and other tissues [results not shown here]) were preparedand immediately frozen in liquid nitrogen. RNA was isolated as described in Materials and Methods, and hybridization was performed with a 200-bp rabbit LBP probe.Shown is a time course of in vivo LBP RNA accumulation during the acute-phase response of rabbits. (C) HUH-7 cells were stimulated in vitro with cytokines asindicated for 24 h. RNA was prepared, and Northern blot experiments were carried out with a 1.4-kb human LBP probe. LBP mRNA accumulation in cells, stimulatedin vitro by IL-1b either alone or combined with IL-6, is shown. Nonstimulated cells showed low, if any, levels of LBP transcripts (see also panel D). (D) HUH-7 cellswere stimulated with IL-6 and dexamethasone (DEX) as described in the text, and hybridization was performed. The GAPDH cDNA probe controls for RNA integrityand comparable loading of RNA in single lanes.
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3493
gion 30 bp upstream of the transcription start site. A numberof putative transcription factor binding sites were identified,some of general nature and some typical for acute-phase pro-moters. Table 1 gives a survey of the putative transcriptionfactor binding sites identified in the LBP promoter along withtheir consensus sequences. The organization of the 59-flankingregion of LBP with the transcription start site and the locationof several key transcription factor binding sites are depictedin Fig. 3B. The presence of two APRE/STAT-3 sites, threeC/EBP sites, and one GRE site is in line with the Northernblotting and nuclear run-on data.The transcription start site was determined by the use of a
primer extension technique employing reverse transcriptaseand a 6-FAM-labeled primer. The resulting reaction productswere compared with size markers run on the same polyacryl-amide gel and analyzed by using automatic sequencing andcomputer software. This experiment, also confirmed with dif-ferent primers, gave rise to a sharp peak indicating the pres-ence of the transcription start site 155 bp upstream of theprimer and 110 bp upstream of the ATG (Fig. 4). A second,smaller peak representing a larger transcript was also detect-able, which could potentially represent the larger transcriptseen in the Northern blot experiments. However, this is spec-ulative, and proof will require additional experimentation,which is under way.Luciferase reporter gene assays. (i) Inducibility and time
course. To identify sites within the LBP 59-flanking regionconferring gene-regulatory activities, functional analysis of theLBP promoter was performed by a luciferase reporter geneassay. To this end, the approximately 1,100-bp LBP promoterwas first cloned in front of the firefly luciferase gene and used
to transfect HUH-7 hepatoma cells by lipofection. Cells werealso transfected with an empty vector as a negative control(mock transfection) as well as with one containing the CMVpromoter. Levels of luciferase activity were assessed after stim-ulation with different cytokine combinations. High concentra-tions of IL-6 and IL-1b (500 and 50 U/ml, respectively) and acombination of low concentrations of IL-6 and IL-1b (50 and5 U/ml, respectively) with 100 U of TNF-a per ml (proven tobe a strong stimulatory concentration in the Northern blotexperiments) were used in the presence of 1 mM dexametha-sone. As shown in Fig. 5A, 15- and 20-fold induction could beobserved with the cytokine-stimulated LBP promoter. Thepromoter activity was equivalent to almost 2% of that of aCMV promoter, which represents an intermediate to strongpromoter activity of the LBP gene. As expected, very littleinduction of the constitutively active CMV promoter and noeffect on the LBP promoter were observed with the mocktransfections.In order to investigate the time course of inducibility of the
LBP promoter, luciferase activity was examined at differenttimes after cytokine induction of cells transfected with the LBPpromoter-luciferase construct. As shown in Fig. 5B, a 5-foldinduction of the LBP promoter was seen after 2 h, increasingto a maximum of almost 30-fold after 48 h with the higher IL-6and IL-1b concentrations. Stimulation with the IL-6–IL-1b–TNF-a combination led to a maximum of 18-fold induction ofluciferase at 48 h. After 5 days, activation of the LBP promoterwas still detectable, with 12- and 3-fold inductions with the twodifferent activation protocols. Loss of activity may also be dueto reduced expression over time in the experimental system.The maximum inducibility after 24 to 48 h, as seen for LBP, is
FIG. 2. Nuclear run-on transcription assay showing transcriptional control of LBP expression in HUH-7 cells. RNA obtained from HUH-7 cells, stimulated withIL-6, IL-1b, and dexamethasone (DEX) for 24 h, was in vitro transcribed in the presence of DIG-UTP and hybridized to slot blotted DNA containing the cDNA ofLBP (white bars) or GAPDH (gray bars), respectively, in a pUC19 vector and to vector lacking the insert. Hybridization was carried out overnight, and aDIG-labeled-antibody-based colorimetric detection system was employed. Results obtained by laser densitometric scanning of the LBP and GAPDH bands are shown.
3494 SCHUMANN ET AL. MOL. CELL. BIOL.
well in line with the induction patterns reported for severalother APRs (6).(ii) Transcriptional activity of truncation mutants of the
LBP promoter. To study the functional activity of certain re-gions of the LBP promoter, truncated versions of the 1.1-kbpromoter in,100-bp steps were cloned into the pLuc vector infront of the gene encoding the firefly luciferase. HUH-7 cellswere transiently transfected with these constructs and stimu-lated for 24 h with different cytokines, and induction of theluciferase gene was determined. To further confirm that LBP isa class 1 acute-phase protein, inducible by IL-1b alone, cellswere stimulated with 50 U of IL-1b per ml and luciferaseactivity was measured, as shown in Fig. 6A. It can be seen thata three- to fivefold activation of these constructs could beachieved by stimulation with IL-1b alone. A truncated pro-moter lacking the transcription start site failed to be inducible.
Next, cells transfected with the truncation constructs werestimulated with 500 U of IL-6 per ml or with a combination ofIL-6 and IL-1b (500 and 50 U/ml, respectively) to confirm thesynergistic action of these cytokines, also typical for class 1acute-phase promoters. As seen in Fig. 6B, IL-6 was able tostrongly enhance activity of the luciferase gene, and this effectcould be further increased by the addition of IL-1b. Even a100-bp fragment (fragment 109) of the LBP promoter confersas much as almost 10-fold inducibility. The presence of thearea from positions 2567 to 2461 of the LBP promoter wasable to enhance additional IL-6-mediated activation of theluciferase gene from an 18-fold to a 35-fold induction. An areabetween positions 519 and 541, containing an AP-1 site, con-ferred the strongest increase in inducibility. This site was con-sequently studied by point mutation and gel retardation anal-yses. A truncated promoter containing the area from positions
FIG. 3. Nucleotide sequence and organization of the human LBP promoter. (A) Complete nucleotide sequence of approximately 1 kb of the 59-flanking region ofthe LBP gene. The transcription start site (boldface), the ATG site (underlined), the 12 (C)CAAT or reverse (C)CAAT [ATTG(G)] boxes (boxed), and theprimer-annealing sites of the primers used for truncation design (underlined) are indicated. (B) A selection of prominent and acute-phase relevant putative regulatoryelements within the LBP promoter shown in relation to the coding area. m, IL-6- or IL-1-dependent regulatory elements; 1, APRE/STAT-3; h, GRE.
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3495
2670 to 2567 confers a 60-fold inducibility of the promoter,approximately three times as strong as that of the largest pro-moter fragment (fragment 975). Thus, the area from 2670 to2975 apparently contains silencer sequences. To obtain formalproof for the importance of transcription factor binding siteswithin the promoter likely to be involved in transcriptionalactivation, we next introduced point mutations carrying changesin the recognition sites and investigated the inducibility ofthese mutated promoter variants in the luciferase reportergene assay.(iii) Promoter mutants carrying point mutations of regula-
tory elements. In order to examine the activity of the APRF/STAT-3 binding site, we inserted a 2-bp point mutation tochange the core consensus sequence by the use of a PCR-based
method. The APRF/STAT-3 site, located downstream of thetranscription start site, CTGGGAA, was mutated into GTGG-GAT, resulting in a significant loss of activity (Fig. 7A). Induc-ibility of the LBP promoter fragment at bp 2461, which in itswild-type form exhibited a 16-fold inducibility after cytokinestimulation, decreased to 6-fold (25%) after 12 h, and induc-ibility was completely lost at later times investigated. Similarresults were obtained by using the fragment at bp 2109 and aSTAT-3 mutation (not shown). Although APRF was shown byothers to bind very rapidly to the APRE/STAT-3 site, a similarloss of the 24-h inducibility by a STAT-3 point mutation hasalso been observed for other acute-phase proteins, with a max-imum of inducibility at 24 or 48 h (6). This result indicates thatthe APRF site, although at an unusual location downstream of
FIG. 4. Identification of the transcription start site by use of reverse transcriptase primer extension of a 6-FAM-labeled primer and an ABI sequencer. A 5-mgsample of stimulated HUH-7 RNA was annealed with 200 ng of two different 6-FAM-labeled oligonucleotides, designed to be complementary to two 59 regions of theLBP gene. RNA was reverse transcribed with MMLV reverse transcriptase (RT), purified, and run on a sequencing gel in parallel to a ROX-labeled size standard. (A)The resulting single band was analyzed by ABI sequencing software. Shown is one representative result of a total of six experiments, using two different primers. (B)The Genescan-500 (GS-500) ROX 35- to 500-bp size standards show that the single band in panel A migrates at between 150 and 160 bp. Computer analysis revealeda size of the reverse transcribed fragment of 155 bp, leading to a transcription start site 110 bp upstream of the ATG site.
TABLE 1. Putative regulatory elements found in the LBP promoter
Factor (synonym) Consensus sequence Location(s) (bp) Inducer Activitya
APRF (STAT-3) CTGGRAA 2792, 97 IL-6 2, 1C/EBP TKNNGYAAK 2863, 2446, 2191 IL-1 or IL-6 2, 1, (1)MGF (STAT-5) ANTTCTTGGNA 2691 Prolactin 2AP-1 TGANTMA 2532 IL-6 or IL-1 1GCN4 GAGTCA 2810, 2124 General (TPA)b 2, (1)AP-3 TGTGGWWW 2580, 64 General (1), 2AP-4 CAGCTGTGG 240, 67 General (1), 2GRE AGAWCAGW 2105 Glucocorticoids (1)
a 1 and (1), activity of the regulatory elements evaluated by point mutation experiments or by truncation mutation experiments only, respectively; 2, no detectableactivity.b TPA, tetradecanoyl phorbol acetate.
3496 SCHUMANN ET AL. MOL. CELL. BIOL.
the transcription start site, seems to be essentially involved inthe transcriptional induction of LBP and that complete in-tegrity of this common acute-phase regulatory element isrequired for transcriptional activation of the LBP gene tooccur.Two other potential transcription factor binding sites, AP-1
and C/EBP, were also mutated by us, and the resulting pro-moter constructs were assessed for their inducibility by cyto-kines. The results of the luciferase reporter gene assay areshown in Fig. 7B. In this case, a more severe mutation wasintroduced, changing the entire binding region. The trans-fected cells were induced with either IL-1b or IL-6 alone. Thisstrategy was chosen in order to discriminate between IL-1b
and IL-6 effects, because the C/EBP site is known to be utilizedby a transcription factor family, induced mainly by IL-6. Asignificant reduction of luciferase activity was observed whenthe mutants were used. However, it was not as strong as thatseen for the STAT-3 mutation. AP-1 mutants showed a stron-ger reduction with regard to IL-1b-mediated activation, where-as the C/EBP-mutation appeared to be involved in IL-6-medi-ated induction only. A second potential C/EBP binding site,identified by us, was also mutated, and the resulting constructwas analyzed in the luciferase reporter gene assay. This site,located at bp 2191, is apparently not utilized at all, as amutation did not change LBP promoter activity (data notshown).
FIG. 5. Functional characterization of the LBP promoter. (A) Results of reporter gene assays showing inducibility of the LBP promoter by IL-1b, IL-6,dexamethasone, and TNF-a. A total of 1,100 bp of the LBP promoter were cloned in front of the firefly luciferase gene, and HUH-7 cells were transfected with thisconstruct by lipofection. The cells were then stimulated with the indicated two combinations of cytokines and were lysed after 24 h. Luciferase activity was examinedwith a luminometer; relative light units are shown for stimulated and nonstimulated cells. As controls, results for mock-transfected cells and a transfection with the CMVpromoter are shown. (B) Luciferase activity was measured at different times after stimulation. Shown is the fold induction of induced cells compared with that ofnoninduced cells (mean values 6 standard deviations of a total of six independent experiments).
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3497
Taken together, the reporter gene assays revealed by trun-cation experiments that the region from positions 2831 to2461, containing a C/EBP site, an APRE/STAT-3 site, and anAP-1 site, is necessary for LBP activation. Point mutationanalysis furthermore confirmed that integrity of the commonacute-phase promoter motif APRE/STAT-3, located at an un-usual position downstream of the transcription start site, aswell as of the AP-1 site and one C/EBP site is required toconfer complete transcriptional activation to the LBP gene.EMSA using oligonucleotides designed according to the
STAT-3, AP-1, and C/EBP sites found within the LBP pro-moter. According to the results obtained from the reportergene assays, we performed gel retardation assays with nuclearproteins in order to show a protein-DNA interaction at thetranscription factor binding sites APRE/STAT-3, AP-1, andC/EBP found to be present within the LBP promoter. Nuclearproteins of nonstimulated and cytokine-stimulated HUH-7cells were incubated with radiolabeled oligonucleotides de-signed according to the binding site sequence, and the com-plexes formed were visualized by electrophoresis, transfer, andautoradiography. As can be seen in Fig. 8A, nuclear proteinsobtained from cells stimulated with cytokines bind to all threedouble-stranded oligonucleotides, resulting in the formation ofcomplexes of the expected sizes. Furthermore, the complexformations could be inhibited by competition with specific non-labeled (cold) oligonucleotides designed according to common-ly accepted transcription factor binding sites (APRF/STAT-3
and AP-1) or the nonlabeled form of the oligonucleotide de-signed according to the sequence found within the LBP pro-moter (C/EBP), shown in Fig. 8A, lanes 3. Nonspecific com-petition with unrelated oligonucleotides failed to reducecomplex formation (Fig. 8A, lanes 2). Other nonspecific oligo-nucleotides were also used and failed to inhibit complex for-mation (not shown). Nonstimulated cells did not give rise toany complexes (Fig. 8A, lanes 4), and labeled oligonucleotideswithout nuclear proteins added also failed to exhibit a shiftsignal (not shown). C/EBP and AP-1 shifts were performedwith nuclear extracts from cells lysed 24 h after stimulationwith IL-1b, IL-6, and dexamethasone, whereas the nuclearproteins used for STAT-3 shifts were collected as early as 15min after stimulation with IL-6 alone, as it is known thatSTAT-3 binds early to its target DNA sequence before it rap-idly dissociates (62). As an additional control for STAT-3–DNA interaction, gel shift experiments were performed usinga double-stranded labeled rat a2-macroglobulin STAT-3 oli-gonucleotide and nuclear extracts from stimulated cells, result-ing in complex formation which could be inhibited by additionof cold oligonucleotides designed according to the sequencefound within the LBP promoter (data not shown).The exact nature of the proteins binding to the C/EBP site
and the AP-1 site is not known. These proteins could poten-tially include any of the dimers of the C/EBP and Fos/Junfamily members in homo- or heterodimer configuration. Su-pershift analyses, which, because of the large group of proteins,
FIG. 6. Functional activity of truncation mutants of the LBP promoter stimulated by cytokines, examined with the luciferase reporter gene assay. (A) The LBPpromoter was truncated at the sites indicated by a PCR-based cloning technique. The truncated mutants of the LBP promoter were cloned in front of the luciferasegene, and HUH-7 cells were transfected and stimulated with 50 U of IL-1b per ml. Twenty-four hours after stimulation, the cells were lysed and light emission wasmeasured in a luminometer following addition of luciferin. Mean values 6 standard deviations are shown. (B) Cells were stimulated with 500 U of IL-6 per ml withand without 50 U of IL-1b per ml to determine synergistic action of these cytokines. Fold induction with the cytokines indicated for stimulated and nonstimulated cellsof a total of four experiments (means 6 standard deviations) is shown. The luciferase vector with and without the CMV promoter served as a control.
3498 SCHUMANN ET AL. MOL. CELL. BIOL.
will require substantial additional work, are under way. Themultiple bands seen for the AP-1 gel shift are typical for com-plex formation with different dimers of the family of transcrip-tion factors and may represent different forms of Jun/Fos,Jun/Jun, or Fos/Fos. Here, also, additional experiments will beneeded to obtain formal proof that members of this group ofproteins are binding to the AP-1 site of the LBP promoter.APRF/STAT-3 supershift analysis. In order to prove that the
APRF/STAT-3 protein binds to its recognition site, supershiftassays were performed, using a supershift anti-STAT-3 anti-body (TransCruz Gel supershift reagent sc-482X, purchasedfrom Santa Cruz, Inc.) known to compete with DNA binding.First, to obtain further evidence that the complex formed is a
STAT-3 complex, an oligonucleotide synthesized according tothe STAT-3 site of the a2-macroglobulin promoter was exam-ined for formation of a complex of the expected size. It can beseen in Fig. 8B that the complex formation with this controloligonucleotide could be eliminated successfully by the addi-tion of cold LBP–STAT-3 oligonucleotide (lanes 1 and 2) andvice versa (lane 3). The supershift anti-STAT-3 antibody wasadded immediately after incubation of nuclear proteins withlabeled oligonucleotides, and lanes 5 to 7 of Fig. 8B show thatthis antibody was able to inhibit STAT-3–DNA complex for-mation in a dose-dependent fashion, confirming binding of thetranscription factor APRF/STAT-3 to the consensus site withinthe LBP promoter.
FIG. 7. Point mutations of transcription factor binding sites reduce inducibility of the LBP promoter. (A) A 461-bp promoter fragment was mutated at the putativeAPRF/STAT-3 binding site by a 2-bp point mutation. This promoter mutant was cloned in front of the luciferase gene, and hepatoma cells were transfected andstimulated with a combination of IL-1b and IL-6, as described in the text. Shown is a time course of luciferase activity measured by chemiluminescence after cytokinestimulation. Values for the cytokine-stimulated cells were divided by the values for nonstimulated cells to obtain fold induction. The maximum inducibility of the controlpromoter was set as 100%, and the other values obtained are expressed relative to the control. (B) The putative AP-1 binding site, located at bp 2582, and the putativebinding site for proteins of the C/EBP family, located at bp 2446, of the LBP promoter were also mutated, and the mutant constructs were cloned in front of theluciferase gene. Cells were stimulated with the cytokine for 24 h after transfection, before they were lysed and luciferase activity was measured. Mean values 6 standarddeviations of a total of three experiments are shown. mut, mutant; prom., promoter.
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3499
In summary, our data show the transcriptional inducibility ofthe LBP promoter by IL-1b and IL-6 which takes place in away typical for a class 1 acute-phase protein. At least threetranscription factor binding sites, APRF/STAT-3, AP-1, andC/EBP, are involved in activation of this novel acute-phaseprotein, leading to a strong activation of the LBP gene, asshown here by gel shift and reporter gene assays. We further-more show that the APRF/STAT-3 transcription factor bindsto a regulatory element located downstream of the transcrip-tion start site and that this interaction is apparently centrallyinvolved in transcriptional activation of LBP.
DISCUSSIONLBP is a member of a structurally and functionally related
family of proteins (14, 15, 24, 57). LBP shows the highestsequence homology with another protein capable of bindingLPS found in the granules of neutrophils and referred to asbactericidal/permeability-increasing protein (BPI) (16, 41).LBP, however, is the only secretory protein besides the solubleCD14 receptor, present in high quantities in serum, which is
known to specifically bind and transfer bacterial LPS (26, 49,66). Therefore, characterization of the regulation of LBP syn-thesis during the onset and course of gram-negative sepsisdeserves further attention.The results demonstrating transcriptional activation of the
LBP gene by IL-6, IL-1b, TNF-a, and dexamethasone are inline with the induction patterns seen for other acute-phaseproteins (9, 10, 21, 27, 29). The central role of IL-1b and IL-6in the transcriptional activation of LBP is also reflected by ourpromoter studies. Furthermore, our data also place LBP in thecategory of a class 1 acute-phase protein, as evidenced by itssynergistic inducibility with IL-1b, IL-6, and TNF-a. Enhance-ment of IL-6-mediated APR transcription by dexamethasone isalso a typical acute-phase feature (6, 39). The presence of aGRE in the LBP promoter suggests its interaction with theglucocorticoid receptor in the 59-flanking region of the LBPgene, which could explain the effects exerted by dexametha-sone seen in our study. However, it is also known that dexa-methasone upregulates expression of the IL-6 receptor (8),which may also contribute to the synergy of IL-6 and dexa-
FIG. 8. Results of EMSA and supershift assays of double-stranded oligonucleotides representing STAT-3, C/EBP, and AP-1 consensus sites present in the humanLBP promoter. (A) Gel retardation assays for nuclear proteins binding to the putative transcription factor binding sites STAT-3, C/EBP, and AP-1 found within theLBP promoter were performed according to a protocol described in detail in Materials and Methods. Nuclear proteins were prepared from cytokine-stimulated and-nonstimulated hepatoma cells as described in the text. Lanes 1, experiment using radiolabeled oligonucleotides, synthesized according to the sequence present withinthe LBP promoter, incubated with nuclear extracts of stimulated cells in the absence of competing molecules (one or several bands can be seen, indicating binding ofnuclear proteins to the oligonucleotide); lanes 2, addition of a 20-fold molar excess of a nonspecific (cold) competitor, without any change in signal intensity; lanes 3,results obtained by addition of a specific competitor, leading to a significant blocking of signal; lanes 4, nuclear extracts of nonstimulated cells used as a control. Formore-detailed information on the sequences, see Materials and Methods. The positions of specific complexes (arrowheads) are indicated. comp., competitor. (B)Supershift analysis of a double-stranded oligonucleotide representing the STAT-3 site in the human LBP promoter. An anti-STAT-3 antibody known to interfere withSTAT-3–DNA binding was utilized to inhibit protein-DNA interaction at the STAT-3 binding site. Lane 1, radiolabeled STAT-3 oligonucleotide from the a2-macroglobulin (a-2M) promoter incubated with nuclear extracts of stimulated cells as a control; lane 2, reaction inhibited by the addition of cold LBP STAT-3oligonucleotide; lane 3, result obtained with a labeled LBP STAT-3 oligonucleotide, inhibited by competition with cold a2-macroglobulin STAT-3 oligonucleotide; lane4, the shift complex with nuclear extracts of stimulated human hepatoma cells and the radiolabeled LBP STAT-3 oligonucleotide alone. In lanes 2 and 3, antibody wasadded (1 and 5 ml, respectively; for details, see Materials and Methods). In lane 4, 5 ml of antibody solution was added in the presence of nuclear extracts fromnonstimulated cells as a control. The results shown are from one representative experiment of a total of three experiments.
3500 SCHUMANN ET AL. MOL. CELL. BIOL.
methasone in inducing LBP expression. We have also observedthat leukemia inhibitory factor is capable of inducing LBP.This effect, however, was not enhanced by dexamethasone(59a), so upregulation of the IL-6 receptor gp80 subunit bydexamethasone appears to be more likely than upregulation ofthe commonly utilized gp130 chain.Cloning of the LBP promoter, as done in this study, not only
led to a descriptive characterization of the LBP gene but alsogave insights into the mechanisms of LBP gene induction,involving a combination of transcription factors. We failed todetect a canonical TATA box 30 bp upstream of the transcrip-tion start site. However, the presence of a cap consensus se-quence 7 bp downstream of the transcription start site (CAGCCT) confirms that the transcription start site is located at theposition found by us. On the other hand, the presence of aTATA box and other transcription initiation sites located fur-ther upstream could also indicate the existence of an intron inthe 59 untranslated region, in a fashion similar to that de-scribed for the gene of the LBP-related phospholipid transferprotein (PLTP) (58). Additionally, we obtained evidence for apotentially unique dual transcription start site organization ofthe LBP gene which is utilized upon stimulation. This organi-zation of the promoter could account for the additional, largertranscripts seen upon specific stimulation regimens and is thefocus of ongoing studies (30b).Regulation of APRs in the liver is based on the unique
proximity of Kupffer cell macrophages to hepatocytes (28).Upon stimulation, the Kupffer cells release the major acute-phase-inducing cytokines of the IL-6 and the IL-1b familyeither directly or by activating stroma cells for cytokine releasein a paracrine fashion. Proteins of both families may thenstimulate the neighboring hepatocytes for acute-phase proteinrelease (6, 18). Because hepatocytes have a limited capacity tostore preformed proteins, the increase in APR biosynthesisresults in most cases from increased gene transcription (53).This is mediated through cis-acting promoter elements that arebinding sites for nuclear factors such as APRF (APRE/STAT-3), C/EBP, IL-6-responsive element-binding protein (IL-6RE), GRE, Ets, or AP-1 (2, 6, 30, 63, 65). However, there isalso evidence to suggest that posttranscriptional events maycontribute to increased levels of APRs in plasma (6).The discovery of a number of cis-acting promoter elements
of the acute-phase type within the 59-flanking region of theLBP gene further supports the view of LBP as an APR. Theacute-phase-typical elements APRE/STAT-3, C/EBP, andGRE, which were found in the 59-flanking region of LBP, areall well in line with the transcriptional induction pattern seenfor LBP. In this study, we have shown that binding of thetranscription factors STAT-3, C/EBP, and AP-1 at least con-tributes to transcriptional activation of LBP. The APRE/STAT-3 site, found at an unusual location 39 of the transcrip-tion start site, appears to be essential for LBP promoteractivity. This site is found in all acute-phase promoters, andour data agree with those of other studies, stressing the role ofthis site for IL-6-mediated gene activation (11, 12, 36). STAT-3was shown to bind to its recognition site relatively early aftercellular stimulation. However, it has been shown that theSTAT-3 recognition element is also centrally involved in long-er-ongoing acute-phase stimulation (34), which is confirmed byour luciferase point mutation studies. Our supershift assayprovides strong evidence that APRF/STAT-3 binds to this site.However, to obtain more-detailed information on this interac-tion, the time kinetics of binding events at the APRE/STAT-3promoter site are being analyzed by us, utilizing EMSA as wellas in vitro and in vivo footprinting assays.The second major regulatory element in APR promoters,
the C/EBP site, was found in three places within the LBPpromoter. One of the two sites studied by point mutationexperiments by us, located at bp 2446, has been shown to beactive, whereas the one more downstream, at bp 2191, seemsnot to be utilized. Binding of members of the C/EBP family oftranscription factors was clearly shown to be important forIL-6-regulated reactions and also for some IL-1b-induced re-actions (3, 5, 29). Which dimer of nuclear factors within theC/EBP family binds to this site is being investigated in ourlaboratory. The AP-1 regulatory element is also known to beimportant for IL-6- and IL-1b-related processes because itbinds members of the transcription factor family consisting ofdimers of the nuclear proteins c-Fos and c-Jun (32). Our re-sults obtained by promoter point mutation and gel shift anal-yses indicate an active role of the AP-1 site for LBP induction,including binding of transcription factors most likely belongingto this family.In addition, analysis of the LBP promoter revealed several
transcription factor binding sites of a more general naturewhich are also of potential interest in acute-phase induction.The AP-1-related GCN-4 site was also shown by others to beimportant for IL-6-induced processes. The transcription factorMGF, which binds to the MGF site found within the LBPpromoter, was recently shown to belong to the STAT familyand named STAT-5b (60). Activity of these sites within theLBP promoter has yet to be proven, and so far we cannotprovide any evidence for such activity.In vitro experiments have suggested that hepatocytes are the
major source of LBP (25, 45). In this study, we have confirmedby in vitro and in vivo experiments that transcripts of LBP canbe induced in hepatocytes. In an animal model in which theacute-phase response is mimicked by AgNO3, we observedsynthesis of LBP exclusively in the liver. Furthermore, reportergene assays showed that cells of nonhepatic origin transfectedwith the LBP promoter are not inducible by IL-6 and IL-1b(30a). These data, taken together with the finding that tran-scripts for LBP are not inducible in tissues other than the liver,indicate that LBP production is restricted to hepatocytes.Moreover, we show that the pattern of LBP induction by cy-tokines resembles that observed for other APRs in vitro. In-duction of LBP transcripts in cell lines was weaker than thatseen in vivo, which increased. However, preliminary studiesusing primary human hepatocytes show strong induction byIL-6 and IL-1b, similar to that seen in vivo (not shown).A recent study has examined the induction of LBP in rats,
measured by Northern blot analysis (61). These investigators,in contrast to us, failed to see a synergistic effect of dexameth-asone and IL-6. An explanation for this difference can befound most likely in the different species used; regulation ofacute-phase proteins is known to be quite different in rats, ascan be seen in the opposite roles that CRP and a2-macroglob-ulin play in humans and in rats (33).The pathophysiological ramification of our findings is that
strong induction of LBP during the acute phase may lead to anautocrine loop in which the proinflammatory cytokines in-duced by LBP-LPS complexes stimulate the hepatocytes forenhanced LBP production. This view of an overstimulation ofLBP as a cause of prolonged inflammatory reactions (as seenin septic shock) is supported by in vitro and in vivo resultsshowing that blocking of LBP by antibodies could suppressproinflammatory cytokine production in vitro and resulted inincreased survival of mice in a sepsis model (19, 20, 50).Knowledge of the transcriptional activation pattern of LBPcould thus contribute to the design of novel experimental in-tervention strategies on the level of DNA or RNA (e.g., anti-sense, ribozyme, or triple-helix-forming oligonucleotides) to
VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3501
lower LBP levels and thus cause a blockage of LPS-inducedstimulation (or overstimulation) of cytokine production.By examining tissue distribution, induction pattern, and
functional organization of the promoter region of LBP, wehave characterized this protein as a novel acute-phase proteinthat can be induced on the transcriptional level, with the in-volvement of a distinct group of regulatory elements. Portray-ing LBP in the context of the acute-phase response will help tobetter understand its function in host defense and endotoxinrecognition. Further studies of this serum protein may help toelucidate the complex nature of the acute-phase reaction andwill eventually point to novel therapeutic intervention strate-gies in gram-negative sepsis. Furthermore, the unusual local-ization of the STAT-3 binding site and the absolute require-ment for activation may contribute to our understanding oftranscriptional activation of cytokine-induced genes.
This work was supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft(DFG) (grants Schu 828/1-1, 1-2, 1-3, and 1-4) and the Fritz-ThyssenFoundation (grant 19932).We acknowledge Tom A. Rapoport, Harvard Medical School, Bos-
ton, Mass., for critical reading of the manuscript. Ursula Wegenka isthanked for providing the rat alpha-2 macroglobulin STAT-3 oligonu-cleotide, for help with the gel shift assays, and for discussion of thedata. We thank Heike Pahl, University of Freiburg, for providing theluciferase vectors and Michael Strauss, Max Planck Institute, Berlin,for providing the b-galactosidase vector. We also thank Peter S. To-bias, La Jolla, Calif., for measuring rabbit LBP and for helpful andencouraging discussions. The excellent technical help of I. Krukenbergis acknowledged.R.R.S. and C.J.K. contributed equally to the work presented here.
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VOL. 16, 1996 TRANSCRIPTIONAL ACTIVATION OF LBP 3503
What does lipopolysaccharide binding protein do? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-binding protein (LBP) plays a crucial role in the innate immune response for the development of inflammatory and infectious-related diseases.What is the normal range for lipopolysaccharides? ›
Under normal circumstances serum levels of LPB vary in the range 5–15 μg/ml, but levels increase several fold during the acute phase response. After the relationship between LPS and sepsis was unraveled, the diagnostic and/or prognostic value of LBP levels in patients with SIRS and sepsis were investigated.Is lipopolysaccharide binding protein an acute phase protein? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS or endotoxin), binding protein (LBP) is a class 1 acute-phase protein with the ability to bind and transfer bacterial LPS. Changes in serum levels of LBP have profound effects on the host's ability to react to endotoxin stimulation and to defend itself against sepsis.Where does LPS bind to? ›
Thus, LPS binds with the CD14/TLR4/MD2 receptor complex present in many host cell types, such as monocytes, dendritic cells, macrophages, and B cells. The subsequent response depends on the cell type to which LPS is bound.How do lipopolysaccharides cause inflammation? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is the major component of Gram-negative bacteria cell walls and can cause an acute inflammatory response by triggering the release of a vast number of inflammatory cytokines in various cell types. LPS is widely recognized as a potent activator of monocytes/macrophages.What is the role of lipopolysaccharide in inflammation? ›
LPS activates cells of the innate immune system, such as macrophages and neutrophils, which synthesize proinflammatory factors, such as IL-1β and TNF, MMPs and free radicals that lead to dramatic secondary inflammation in tissues.Are lipopolysaccharides good or bad? ›
Only when live bacteria can get into the bloodstream (as some pathogens can do), their LPS can overload the natural protective responses. A sudden exposure to high amounts of LPS is toxic for most cells.How do you treat lipopolysaccharides? ›
Potential healthy ways to reduce LPS include cooking with olive oil and eating foods high in pre- and probiotics, polyphenols, and omega-3 fatty acids. Meditation and vagus nerve stimulation might also help, according to limited research data.Are lipopolysaccharides in the leaky gut? ›
Lipopolysaccharides or LPS are bacterial toxins that can cause inflammation and health issues if they reach the bloodstream. Normally housed safely in the gut, lipopolysaccharides become toxic by entering the blood if you have an infection, “leaky gut”, or eat too many fatty foods.What is the reference range for lipopolysaccharide binding protein? ›
The reference range of serum LBP in healthy humans was found to be 1.85 to 17.4 mg/L (median 7.94 mg/L).
What is the size of LPS binding protein? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) Binding Protein (LBP) is a 50 kDa polypeptide secreted into the bloodstream as a 58–60 kDa glycosylated protein, and it is induced mainly in the liver as class I acute phase protein (Schumann et al., 1996, Tobias et al., 1986).What is a positive acute phase protein? ›
Positive acute-phase proteins
Positive APPs serve different physiological functions for the immune system. Some act to destroy or inhibit growth of microbes, e.g., CAA and Hp. Others give negative feedback on the inflammatory response, e.g., serpins, alpha 2 macroglobulin and coagulation factors affect coagulation.
- Reduce Added Sugar and Processed Foods. ...
- Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods. ...
- Eat High Fiber Foods. ...
- Decrease Salt. ...
- Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods. ...
- Drink clean water to flush out Toxins. ...
- Exercise to Release Toxins. ...
- Get good sleep.
Bacteria-derived LPS, the “Immuno Vitamin”, is found abundantly in edible plants, such as grains, vegetables, and seaweed.Which gut bacteria produce LPS? ›
Lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) are bacterial surface glycolipids, produced by Gram-negative bacteria.Where do lipopolysaccharides come from? ›
LPS is produced by all Gram-negative bacteria and is one of the main constituents of the Gram-negative bacterial outer membrane.What reaction can bacterial lipopolysaccharides cause? ›
Agonistic forms of LPS or lipid A trigger numerous physiological immunostimulatory effects in mammalian organisms, but--in higher doses--can also lead to pathological reactions such as the induction of septic shock.How do you test for LPS in blood? ›
A chromogenic assay is presented for the determination of endotoxin (LPS) in blood. The assay is based upon the LPS-dependent activation of Limulus amebocyte lysate (LAL), and the subsequent measurement of the activated enzyme with a chromogenic substrate.What are the 3 important parts of bacterial lipopolysaccharide? ›
LPS is a large glycolipid composed of three structural domains: lipid A, the core oligosaccharide, and the O antigen (Fig. 1B) (9).What does lipopolysaccharide protect against? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) protects from severe respiratory paramyxoviral viral infection through an innate immune response.
What effect does lipopolysaccharide have on cells? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is a natural adjuvant synthesized by gram-negative bacteria that has profound effects on CD4 T cell responses. LPS stimulates cells through Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), causing the release of inflammatory cytokines and upregulation of costimulatory molecules on antigen presenting cells.What are the diseases associated with LPS? ›
These can greatly increase the risk of serious diseases such as heart disease, fatty liver disease, and type 2 diabetes. Higher levels of circulating LPS have been associated with risk factors for metabolic syndrome, including insulin resistance and chronic inflammation.Are lipopolysaccharides toxins? ›
Lipopolysaccharides (LPS) are large molecules consisting of a lipid and a polysaccharide that are bacterial toxins. They are composed of an O-antigen, an outer core, and an inner core all joined by a covalent bond, and are found in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria.What are the signs of a leaky gut? ›
- A burning feeling of ulceration in your gut.
- Painful indigestion from the loss of intestinal mucosa.
- Gas and bloating from fermentation by overgrown bacteria in your gut.
- Low energy from the reduced ability to draw energy from your food.
Colistin kills bacteria by targeting lipopolysaccharide in the cytoplasmic membrane.What toxins cause leaky gut? ›
Inflammatory foods such as gluten and dairy are considered one of the leading causes of leaky gut. Toxic foods including sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed foods can also cause leaky gut.Is leaky gut linked to autoimmune disease? ›
Leaky Gut and the Connection to Autoimmune Disease
Leaky gut syndrome is almost always associated with autoimmune disease. In fact, reversing symptoms of autoimmune disease depends on healing the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Any other treatment is just symptom suppression.
Abstract. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS, endotoxin) is the major component of the outer leaflet of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium.What is the optimum concentration of LPS to induce inflammation? ›
The optimum concentration was shown to be 1.0 μg/mL of LPS with an incubation time of 6 h to induce oxidative stress in BMEC.What receptor detects LPS? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), commonly known as endotoxin, is ubiquitous and the most-studied pathogen-associated molecular pattern. A component of Gram-negative bacteria, extracellular LPS is sensed by our immune system via the toll-like receptor (TLR)-4.
What is the most important plasma protein with significant drug binding capacity? ›
The most important plasma proteins in this context are albumin, acid-glycoprotein and beta-globulin. Once a drug has been absorbed into the circulation it may become attached (we say bound) to plasma proteins. However this binding is rapidly reversible and non-specific – that is many drugs may bind to the same protein.How much LPS is in E coli? ›
Bacteria, like E. coli and Salmonella, contain approximately 2-3 × 106 molecules of LPS that cover more than 75% of the OM .What does a positive protein test indicate? ›
This result may indicate any of the following conditions: Systemic inflammation from conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) or other autoimmune conditions. Heart attack (myocardial infarction). Pancreatitis.What are the markers for acute inflammation? ›
The three most commonly used inflammatory markers are called C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and plasma viscosity (PV).What is the main cause of inflammation in the body? ›
These are the most common: Pathogens (germs) like bacteria, viruses or fungi. External injuries like scrapes or damage through foreign objects (for example a thorn in your finger) Effects of chemicals or radiation.What are the signs of high endotoxins? ›
The human health effects of acute exposure to endotoxin include sepsis; clinical symptoms such as fever, shaking chills, and septic shock; and, at lower doses, toxic pneumonitis, lung function decrements, and respiratory symptoms, such as byssinosis (“Monday morning chest tightness”) (Rylander 2002, 2006).What is the best endotoxin removal? ›
Anion Exchange (AEX) Chromatography Resins Since endotoxins are negatively charged, AEX chromatography is often the ideal choice for removing them.Do carrots remove endotoxins? ›
Carrots can help lower estrogen, combat bacterial growth, reduce inflammation, promote weight loss, and help excrete bacterial poisons called endotoxins. Reducing estrogen, inflammation and endotoxins can have many far-reaching downstream effects.What foods cause endotoxins? ›
Diets with large amounts of saturated fat, animal products, and refined carbohydrate may induce endotoxemia more markedly than diets containing fiber-rich plant-based food.What is the function of choline binding protein? ›
Choline-Binding Protein CbpF. CbpF is one of the most abundant proteins present in the pneumococcal cell wall. It does not possess any catalytic activity but acts as a regulator of the function of the LytC lysozyme .
How does LPS stimulate cells? ›
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) stimulates immune responses by interacting with the membrane receptor CD14 to induce the generation of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1, and IL-6.What is the function of binding immunoglobulin protein? ›
Binding immunoglobulin protein (BiP) resides in the endoplasmic reticulum and facilitate proper protein folding; its activity is induced during cellular stress conditions posed onto cells by accumulation of unfolded proteins among others.How do you know if you have a choline deficiency? ›
Symptoms and risks of choline deficiency include: Feeling anxious or restless. Fatty liver, otherwise known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) Muscle damage.How does choline affect the brain? ›
CHOLINE AND THE BRAIN
Choline has a critical role in neurotransmitter function because of its impact on acetylcholine and dopaminergic function. Studies in animals suggest that CDP-choline supplements increase dopamine receptor densities and can ameliorate memory impairment.
The plasmalemmal Ch uptake is selectively inhibited by a chemical hemicholinium-3 (HC-3) whereas vesamicol blocks vesicular uptake of ACh.How does lipopolysaccharide work? ›
The function of LPS. While the structure of LPS (or LOS) may vary among bacteria, in all cases this glycolipid populates much of the cell surface and establishes a permeability barrier that protects the cell from the entry of toxic molecules such as antibiotics and bile salts (5, 22).Does IgG bind toxins? ›
IgG antibodies are usually of higher affinity and are found in blood and in extracellular fluid, where they can neutralize toxins, viruses, and bacteria, opsonize them for phagocytosis, and activate the complement system.What are the proteins that help fight infection by binding? ›
Antibodies are protective proteins produced by your immune system. They attach to antigens (foreign substances) — such as bacteria, fungi, viruses and toxins — and remove them from your body.How does protein binding affect disease or what role does it play? ›
Protein binding influences the bioavailability and distribution of active compounds, and is a limiting factor in the passage of drugs across biological membranes and barriers: drugs are often unable to cross membranes mainly due to the high molecular mass of the drug-protein complex, thus resulting in the accumulation ...