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This research was originally published in Journal of Biological Chemistry. Kypriotou, M., Beauchef, G., Chadjichristos, C., Widom, R., Renard, E., Jimenez, S.A., Korn, J., Maquart, F.X., Oddos, T., Von Stetten, O. and Pujol, J.P.. Human Collagen Krox Up-regulates Type I Collagen Expression in Normal and Scleroderma Fibroblasts through Interaction with Sp1 and Sp3 Transcription Factors. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2008; 282(44):32000-14. © the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


Despite several investigations, the transcriptional mechanisms that regulate the expression of both type I collagen genes (COL1A1 and COL1A2) in either physiological or pathological situations, such as scleroderma, are not completely known. We have investigated the role of hc-Krox transcription factor on type I collagen expression by human dermal fibroblasts. hc-Krox exerted a stimulating effect on type I collagen protein synthesis and enhanced the corresponding mRNA steady-state levels of COL1A1 and COL1A2 in foreskin fibroblasts (FF), adult normal fibroblasts (ANF), and scleroderma fibroblasts (SF). Forced hc-Krox expression was found to up-regulate COL1A1 transcription through a -112/-61-bp sequence in FF, ANF, and SF. Knockdown of hc-Krox by short interfering RNA and decoy strategies confirmed the transactivating effect of hc-Krox and decreased substantially COL1A1 transcription levels in all fibro-blast types. The -112/-61-bp sequence bound specifically hc-Krox but also Sp1 and CBF. Attempts to elucidate the potential interactions between hc-Krox, Sp1, and Sp3 revealed that all of them co-immunoprecipitate from FF cellular extracts when a c-Krox antibody was used and bind to the COL1A1 promoter in chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. Moreover, hc-Krox DNA binding activity to its COL1A1-responsive element is increased in SF, cells producing higher amounts of type I collagen compared with ANF and FF. These data suggest that the regulation of COL1A1 gene transcription in human dermal fibroblasts involves a complex machinery that implicates at least three transcription proteins, hc-Krox, Sp1, and Sp3, which could act in concert to up-regulate COL1A1 transcriptional activity and provide evidence for a pro-fibrotic role of hc-Krox.

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