To gain insight into the molecular basis of annexin gene expression we have analysed the annexin I and VI gene promoters. A previously described 881 bp sequence immediately upstream of the annexin I transcription start site and a similar size fragment proximal to the annexin VI transcription start site both drove expression of the luciferase reporter gene in fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Neither promoter displayed any sensitivity to dexamethasone, suggesting that the putative glucocorticoid response element in the annexin I promoter is non-functional. Consistent with this, endogenous annexin I gene expression was unaffected by dexamethasone at the mRNA and protein levels in A431 cells. A series of 5´ deletions of the two promoters were examined to define the minimal active sequences. For annexin I this corresponded to a sequence approx. 150 bp upstream of the transcription start site that included CAAT and TATA boxes. Unexpectedly, the annexin VI promoter, which also contains CAAT and TATA boxes, was fully active in the absence of these elements, a 53 bp sequence between these boxes and the transcription start site having maximal activity. Electrophoretic mobility-shift assays with nuclear extracts from A431 and HeLa cells with probes corresponding to this region revealed an SP1-binding site. These results show that the annexin I and VI genes have individual modes of transcriptional regulation and that if either annexin I or annexin VI has an anti-inflammatory role, then this is in the absence of steroid-induced gene expression.

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