Hypoxia-induced endothelial NO synthase gene transcriptional activation is mediated through the Tax-responsive element in endothelial cells

Jiho Min, Yoon Mi Jin, Je Sung Moon, Min Sun Sung, Sangmee Ahn Jo, Inho Jo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Although hypoxia is known to induce upregulation of endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) gene expression, the underlying mechanism is largely unclear. In this study, we show that hypoxia increases eNOS gene expression through the binding of phosphorylated cAMP-responsive element binding (CREB) protein (pCREB) to the eNOS gene promoter. Hypoxia (1% O2) increased both eNOS expression and NO production, peaking at 24 hours, in bovine aortic endothelial cells, and these increases were accompanied by increases in pCREB. Treatment with the protein kinase A inhibitor H-89 or transfection with dominant-negative inhibitor of CREB reversed the hypoxia-induced increases in eNOS expression and NO production, with concomitant inhibition of the phosphorylation of CREB induced by hypoxia, suggesting an involvement of protein kinase A/pCREB-mediated pathway. To map the regulatory elements of the eNOS gene responsible for pCREB binding under hypoxia, we constructed an eNOS gene promoter (-1600 to +22 nucleotides) fused with a luciferase reporter gene [pGL2-eNOS(-1600)]. Hypoxia (for 24-hour incubation) increased the promoter activity by 2.36±0.18-fold in the bovine aortic endothelial cells transfected with pGL2-eNOS(-1600). However, progressive 5′-deletion from -1600 to -873 completely attenuated the hypoxia-induced increase in promoter activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift, anti-pCREB antibody supershift, and site-specific mutation analyses showed that pCREB is bound to the Tax-responsive element (TRE) site, a cAMP-responsive element-like site, located at -924 to -921 of the eNOS promoter. Our data demonstrate that the interaction between pCREB and the Tax-responsive element site within the eNOS promoter may represent a novel mechanism for the mediation of hypoxia-stimulated eNOS gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1189-1196
Number of pages8
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Endothelium
  • Gene regulation
  • Nitric oxide
  • Nitric oxide synthase
  • Signal transduction
  • Vasodilation


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