Transforming Growth Factor β Signaling Upregulates the Expression of Human GDP-Fucose Transporter by Activating Transcription Factor Sp1

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GDP-fucose transporter plays a crucial role in fucosylation of glycoproteins by providing activated fucose donor, GDP-fucose, for fucosyltransferases in the lumen of the Golgi apparatus. Fucose-containing glycans are involved in many biological processes, which are essential for growth and development. Mutations in the GDP-fucose transporter gene cause leukocyte adhesion deficiency syndrome II, a disease characterized by slow growth, mental retardation and immunodeficiency. However, no information is available regarding its transcriptional regulation. Here, by using human cells, we show that TGF-β1 specifically induces the GDP-fucose transporter expression, but not other transporters tested such as CMP-sialic acid transporter, suggesting a diversity of regulatory pathways for the expression of these transporters. The regulatory elements that are responsive to the TGF-β1 stimulation are present in the region between bp -330 and -268 in the GDP-fucose transporter promoter. We found that this region contains two identical octamer GC-rich motifs (GGGGCGTG) that were demonstrated to be essential for the transporter expression. We also show that the transcription factor Sp1 specifically binds to the GC-rich motifs in vitro and Sp1 coupled with phospho-Smad2 is associated with the promoter region covering the Sp1-binding motifs in vivo using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays. In addition, we further confirmed that Sp1 is essential for the GDP-fucose transporter expression stimulated by TGF-β1 using a luciferase reporter system. These results highlight the role of TGF-β signaling in regulation of the GDP-fucose transporter expression via activating Sp1. This is the first transcriptional study for any nucleotide sugar transporters that have been identified so far. Notably, TGF-β1 receptor itself is known to be modified by fucosylation. Given the essential role of GDP-fucose transporter in fucosylation, the finding that TGF-β1 stimulates the expression of this transporter, suggests a possible intracellular link between the function of nucleotide sugar transporter and the TGF-β signaling pathway.




Xu, Y. X., Ma, A., & Liu, L. (2013). Transforming Growth Factor β Signaling Upregulates the Expression of Human GDP-Fucose Transporter by Activating Transcription Factor Sp1. PLoS ONE, 8(9).

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