Characterization of CD44 induction by IL-1: a critical role for Egr-1

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology

Publication Date


Document Type



Antigens, CD44; Cell Line, Transformed; DNA-Binding Proteins; Early Growth Response Protein 1; Endothelium, Vascular; Gene Expression Regulation; Humans; *Immediate-Early Proteins; Interleukin-1; Peptide Fragments; Promoter Regions, Genetic; Protein Binding; Protein Isoforms; RNA, Messenger; Transcription Factors; Transcription, Genetic


Immunology and Infectious Disease


The adhesion molecule CD44 is a multifunctional, ubiquitously expressed glycoprotein that participates in the process of leukocyte recruitment to sites of inflammation and to their migration through lymphatic tissues. In this study, we have investigated the effect of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1alpha on CD44 gene expression in the human immortalized endothelial cell line ECV304. Immunoblotting of cell extracts showed constitutive expression of a 85-kDa protein corresponding to the standard form of CD44, which was potently up-regulated following IL-1alpha treatment. Furthermore, IL-1alpha induced expression of v3- and v6-containing isoforms of CD44, which migrated at 110 and 140-180 kDa, respectively. The effect of IL-1alpha on CD44 standard, v3- and v6-containing isoforms was dose and time dependent and was inhibited in the presence of IL-1 receptor antagonist. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms regulating CD44 expression in response to IL-1alpha, we investigated the effect of IL-1alpha on CD44 mRNA expression. Reverse-transcriptase PCR and Northern analysis demonstrated an increase in CD44 mRNA expression indicating a transcriptional mechanism of control by IL-1alpha. Furthermore, IL-1alpha increased expression of a reporter gene under the control of the CD44 promoter (up to -1.75 kb). The effect of IL-1alpha was critically dependent on the site spanning -151 to -701 of the promoter. This effect required the presence of an Egr-1 motif at position -301 within the CD44 promoter since mutation of this site abolished responsiveness. IL-1alpha also induced Egr-1 expression in these cells. These studies therefore identify Egr-1 as a critical transcription factor involved in CD44 induction by IL-1alpha.


J Immunol. 1999 Apr 15;162(8):4920-7.

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950)

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