Retinoic acid stimulates transcriptional activity from the alkaline phosphatase promoter in the immortalized rat calvarial cell line, RCT-1. Academic Article uri icon


  • The immortalized rat calvarial bone cell line RCT-1 responds to treatment with retinoic acid (RA) by increased expression of osteoblast phenotype-related features, including the induction of liver/bone/kidney alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity. ALP mRNA could not be demonstrated in unstimulated cells, but was first detected in cells treated for 6 h with 1 microM RA. Cycloheximide failed to block the RA induction of ALP mRNA, indicating that de novo protein synthesis was not a requirement for the RA effect and that the ALP gene may be a direct target for RA action. This was confirmed by nuclear run-on assays, which demonstrated a 2.5-fold increase in the abundance of ALP transcripts after 6 h of RA treatment. To determine whether the RA responsiveness was mediated by a specific segment of the ALP promoter, RCT-1 cells were transfected with a series of plasmids containing deletions of the 5'-flanking sequence of the human ALP gene fused to the chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) gene. CAT activity was measured in cells cultured in the presence of RA or vehicle. All but the smallest construct, which contained 44 basepairs up-stream of the initiation of transcription, were found to mediate a 2- to 3-fold increase in the expression of CAT activity in response to RA. Furthermore, when the region -108 to -45 of the human ALP gene was inserted into the expression vector pBLcat2, in a position immediately up-stream of the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase promoter, the construct was found to mediate a 2-fold enhancement of CAT activity in response to RA. In gel retardation assays, a major band was present corresponding to the formation of a complex between the 32P-labeled probe containing the -108 to -45 sequence and proteins present in nuclear extracts of RCT-1 cells stimulated for 3 h with RA. These data suggest that the sequence of 64 basepairs (-108 to -45) 5' to the transcription start site is involved in the RA inducibility of the human ALP gene.

published proceedings

  • Mol Endocrinol

author list (cited authors)

  • Heath, J. K., Suva, L. J., Yoon, K., Kiledjian, M., Martin, T. J., & Rodan, G. A.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Heath, JK||Suva, LJ||Yoon, K||Kiledjian, M||Martin, TJ||Rodan, GA

publication date

  • April 1992