Deoxycytidine kinase (dCK) phosphorylates 2'-deoxycytidine, as well as the purine deoxyribonucleosides and a number of nucleoside analogues that are important in the chemotherapy of leukemias. The enzyme is highly expressed in the thymus relative to other tissues and may play an important role in the T cell depletion associated with adenosine deaminase and purine nucleoside phosphorylase deficiencies. To characterize the dCK promoter region and to determine whether it mediates higher levels of gene expression in T lymphoblasts, we have analyzed a 700-bp genomic fragment encompassing 548 bp of 5' flanking region for functional activity and for transcription factor binding using T and B lymphoblast cell lines and nuclear extracts. The regions of the promoter that were defined as important to its function include a 5' GC box, and E box, a 3' GC box, and an E2F site. The transcription factor Sp1 binds to both GC boxes, activating at the 5' site but repressing at the 3' site. MLTF/USF activates transcription through the E box, whereas E2F activates through the E2F site, but binds weakly to this site in vitro and does not appear to mediate cell cycle-specific expression of dCK in vivo. No significant differences in promoter activity or transcription factor binding were observed between Jurkat T and Raji B lymphoblasts. The promoter of the dCK gene is thus regulated by a number of ubiquitously expressed transcription factors. DCK expression in cultured lymphoblast cell lines is not solely a function of the T or B lineage derivation.
E H Chen, E E Johnson 2nd, S M Vetter, B S Mitchell