The co-activator p300 associates physically with and can mediate the action of the distal enhancer of the FGF-4 gene

Tamara Nowling, Cory Bernadt, Lance Johnson, Michelle Desler, Angie Rizzino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


Distal enhancers commonly regulate gene expression. However, the mechanisms of transcriptional mediation by distal enhancers remain largely unknown. To better understand distal enhancer-mediated transcription, we examined the regulation of the FGF-4 gene. The FGF-4 gene is regulated during early development by a powerful distal enhancer located downstream of the promoter in exon 3. Sox-2 and Oct-3 bind to the enhancer and are required for the activation of the FGF-4 gene. Previously, we implicated the co-activator p300 as a mediator of Sox-2/Oct-3 synergistic activation of a heterologous promoter, suggesting that p300 may play a role in mediating enhancer activation of the FGF-4 gene. In this study, we provide both functional and physical evidence that p300 plays an important role in the action of the FGF-4 enhancer. Specifically, we show that E1a, but not a mutant form of E1a that is unable to bind p300, inhibits enhancer activation of the FGF-4 promoter. We also demonstrate that Gal4/p300 fusion proteins can stimulate the FGF-4 promoter when bound to the FGF-4 enhancer. Additionally, we present evidence that p300 mediation of the FGF-4 enhancer requires acetyltransferase activity. Importantly, we also show that Sox-2 and p300 are physically associated with the endogenous FGF-4 enhancer but weakly associated with the endogenous FGF-4 promoter. These results are consistent with a model of transitory interaction between the distal enhancer and the FGF-4 promoter. Our results also suggest that intragenic distal enhancers may use mechanisms that differ from extragenic distal enhancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13696-13705
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 18 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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