DNase I Hypersensitive Site II of the Human Growth Hormone Locus Control Region Mediates an Essential and Distinct Long-range Enhancer Function.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The Journal of biological chemistry, Volume 287, Issue 30, p.25454-65 (2012)


Locus control regions (LCRs) comprise sets of DNA elements capable of establishing autonomous chromatin domains that support robust and physiologically appropriate expression of target genes, often working over extensive distances. Human growth hormone (hGH-N) expression in the pituitary is under the regulation of a well characterized LCR containing four DNase I hypersensitive sites (HSs). The two pituitary-specific HS, HSI and HSII, are located 14.5 and 15.5 kb 5' to the hGH-N promoter. HSI is essential for activation of hGH-N during pituitary development and for sustaining robust activity in the adult. To determine whether the closely linked HSII has a role in hGH-N expression, it was deleted from a previously validated hGH/P1 transgene. Analysis of three independent hGH/P1(ΔHSII) transgenic mouse lines revealed that this deletion had no adverse effect on the formation of HSI, yet resulted in a substantial loss (70%) in hGH-N mRNA expression. This loss of expression was accompanied by a corresponding reduction in recruitment of the pituitary-specific transcription factor Pit-1 to the hGH-N promoter and a selective decrease in promoter occupancy of the elongation-linked isoform of RNA polymerase II. Sufficiency of HSI and HSII in LCR activity was explored by establishing two additional sets of mouse transgenic lines in which DNA segments containing these HS were positioned within the λ phage genome. In this "neutral" DNA context, HSII was required for the recruitment of HAT activity. These data establish HSII as a nonredundant component of the hGH LCR essential for establishment of robust levels of hGH-N gene expression.