HtrA serine peptidase 2 (HtrA2), also named Omi, is a pro-apoptotic protein that exhibits dramatic changes in expression levels in a variety of disorders, including ischemia/reperfusion injury, cancer, and neurodegeneration. In our study, Omi/HtrA2 protein levels were high in the heart, brain, kidney and liver, with elevated heart/brain expression in aging mice. A similar expression pattern was observed at the mRNA level, which suggests that the regulation of Omi/HtrA2 is predominately transcriptional. Promoter binding by transcription factors is the main influencing factor of transcription, and to identify specific promoter elements that contribute to the differential expression of mouse Omi/HtrA2, we constructed truncated Omi/HtrA2 promoter/luciferase reporter vectors and analyzed their relative luciferase activity; it was greatest in the promoter regions at −1205~−838 bp and −146~+93 bp, with the −838~−649 bp region exhibiting negative regulatory activity. Bioinformatics analysis suggested that the Omi/HtrA2
gene promoter contains a CpG island at −709~+37 bp, and eight heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) sites, two Sp1 transcription factor (SP1)sites, one activator protein (AP) site, seven p53 sites, and four YY1 transcription factor(YY1) sites were predicted in the core areas. Furthermore, we found that p53 and HSF1 specifically binds to the Omi/HtrA2 promoter using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. These results provide a foundation for understanding Omi/HtrA2 regulatory mechanisms, which could further understanding of HtrA-associated diseases.
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