2014 年 134 巻 7 号 p. 817-821
Studies of tissue-specific gene expression have suggested that tissue-specific transcription factors or tissue-specific combinations of non-cell-type-specific transcription factors regulate tissue-specific gene expression. Although the studies of endothelial cell (EC)-specific gene expression has identified several transcriptional activators such as SP1, ETS family proteins, and GATA proteins, their expression and combinations are not likely to be EC-specific. To investigate the mechanism of EC-specific gene expression, we analyzed the regulation mechanism of an EC-specific gene, Roundabout4 (Robo4). We identified the 3-kb Robo4 promoter and several transcription factors including SP1 and GABP that bind to the Robo4 promoter and promote Robo4 gene expression. However, we could not explain the mechanism for EC-specific Robo4 gene expression with only those factors because their expression and combination are not EC-specific. Therefore, we hypothesized the contribution of other mechanisms, especially epigenetic control, to Robo4 gene regulation and demonstrated the importance of DNA methylation for EC-specific Robo4 expression. In this review, we summarize our recent studies and discuss the novel regulation model of Robo4 gene expression by transcription factors and DNA methylation.