The phosphotyrosine phosphatase activator (PTPA) has been isolated as an in vitro regulator of protein phosphatase 2A. Human PTPA is encoded by a single gene, the structure and chromosomal localization of which have been determined in our previous work. Here we describe the further isolation, sequencing and functional characterization of the PTPA promoter region. In agreement with its ubiquitous expression, the PTPA promoter displays several characteristics of housekeeping genes: it lacks both a TATA-box and a CAAT-box, it is very GC-rich and it contains an unmethylated CpG island surrounding the transcription initiation site. Transient transfection experiments in different cell types with several truncated chimaeric luciferase reporter gene plasmids revealed the importance of the region between positions -67 and -39 for basal promoter activity. This region coincides remarkably well with the determined CpG island. Further analysis of this region demonstrated the presence of a Yin Yang 1 (YY1) binding motif at positions -52 to -44. Binding of YY1 to this sequence is demonstrated in bandshift and DNase I footprinting experiments. Another YY1 binding motif is found in the 5ʹ untranslated region, at positions +27 to +35. Mutations in either of these sites, abolishing YY1 binding in vitro, have differential effects on promoter activity. Point mutations in both sites completely abolish promoter activity. Moreover, induction of promoter activity by co-transfection with a YY1 expression plasmid is fully dependent upon the presence of both intact YY1 binding sites. Thus YY1 apparently mediates basal transcription of the human PTPA gene through two binding sites within its proximal promoter.

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