During acute inflammation, a group of liver-derived plasma proteins, acute phase proteins (APPs), increase in concentration. Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is responsible for this increase via the induction of APP gene expression. We have identified an IL-6 responsive cis-acting element (IL-6RE) of gene encoding a typical APP, rat α2-macroglobulin (α2M). The IL-6RE contains a sequence that is conserved among the 5′-flanking regions of various APP genes. Introduction of mutations into the conserved sequence revealed that the sequence, termed IL-6RE core, is a critical and essential component of IL6-RE. Nuclear factors binding to the IL-6RE core were identified in livers of normal and inflamed rats. Mobility shift pattern and DNase I footprinting profile indicated that the factors from normal and inflamed stages recognized the same sequence but were distinct from each other. These results suggested that the regulation of α2M gene expression may involve mutually exclusive interaction of stage-specific trans-acting factors.
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