Regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase transcription by hnRNP K and DNA secondary structure Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Porphyrins


  • Regulation of tyrosine hydroxylase gene (Th) transcription is critical for specifying and maintaining the dopaminergic neuronal phenotype. Here we define a molecular regulatory mechanism for Th transcription conserved in tetrapod vertebrates. We show that heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) K is a transactivator of Th transcription. It binds to previously unreported and evolutionarily conserved G:C-rich regions in the Th proximal promoter. hnRNP K directly binds to C-rich single-stranded DNA within these conserved regions and also associates with double-stranded sequences when proteins, such as CRE-binding protein, are bound to an adjacent cis-regulatory element. The single DNA strands within the conserved G:C-rich regions adopt either G-quadruplex or i-motif secondary structures. We also show that small molecule-mediated stabilization of these secondary structures represses Th promoter activity. These data suggest that these secondary structures are targets for pharmacological modulation of the dopaminergic phenotype.

publication date

  • January 2014



  • Academic Article



  • eng

PubMed Central ID

  • PMC4264680

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1038/ncomms6769

PubMed ID

  • 25493445

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 5769


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