Abasic sites in DNA are generated either spontaneously or after removal of altered bases daring the base excision repair process. These as well as 3' damaged ends of DNA at single-strand breaks induced by reactive oxygen species are repaired by AP-endonucleases. The major human AP-endonuclease (named APE-1) has two unrelated activities. It may function as an activator of c-Fos and c-Jun transcription factors and as a repressor of the parathyroid hormone (PTH) gene by binding to the negative Ca2+-response elements (nCaRE) in its promoter. Preliminary studies indicate that the h- APE-1 gene is highly regulated. Analysis of its promoter activity by transient expression of the luciferase reporter gene in human, HeLa and TK6 cells suggested the presence of a negative regulatory element in the promoter. Two nCaRE-like sequences were identified in the promoter segment responsible for inhibiting reporter gene expression. Competitive electrophoretic mobility shift assay with HeLa nuclear extract indicated that the nCaRE sequences of the APE-1 and PTH genes are recognized by the APE-1 polypeptide. These results suggest that the APE-1 gene may be down-regulated by its own product.
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