Transcriptional regulation of human inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) gene by cytokines: Initial analysis of the human NOS2 promoter

Michael E. De Vera*, Richard A. Shapiro, Andreas K. Nussler, John S. Mudgett, Richard L. Simmons, Sidney M. Morris, Timothy R. Billiar, David A. Geller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) is complex and is regulated in part by gene transcription. In this investigation we studied the regulation of NOS2 in a human liver epithelial cell line (AKN-1) which expresses high levels of NOS2 mRNA and protein in response to tumor necrosis factor α, interleukin 1β, and interferon γ (cytokine mix, CM). Nuclear run-on analysis revealed that CM transcriptionally activated the human NOS2 gene. To delineate the cytokine-responsive regions of the human NOS2 promoter, we stimulated AKN-1 cells with CM following transfection of NOS2 luciferase constructs. Analysis of the first 3.8 kb upstream of the NOS2 gene demonstrated basal promoter activity but failed to show any cytokine- inducible activity. However, 3- to 5-fold inductions of luciferase activity were seen in constructs extending up to -5.8 and -7.0 kb, and a 10-fold increase was seen upon transfection of a -16 kb construct. Further analysis of various NOS2 luciferase constructs ligated upstream of the thymidine kinase promoter identified three regions containing cytokine-responsive elements in the human NOS2 gene: -3.8 to -5.8, -5.8 to -7.0, and -7.0 to -16 kb. These results are in marked contrast with the murine macrophage NOS2 promoter in which only 1 kb of the proximal 5' flanking region is necessary to confer inducibility to lipopolysaccharide and interferon γ. These data demonstrate that the human NOS2 gene is transcriptionally regulated by cytokines and identify multiple cytokine-responsive regions in the 5' flanking region of the human NOS2 gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1059
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Feb 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • gene regulation
  • interferon γ
  • interleukin 1β
  • nitric oxide
  • tumor necrosis factor α


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