ESE-1 is a novel transcriptional mediator of angiopoietin-1 expression in the setting of inflammation

Courtney Brown, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
John Gaspar, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Allison Pettit, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Rebecca Lee, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Xuesong Gu, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Hong Wang, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Cathy Manning, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Carole Voland, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Steven R. Goldring, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Mary B. Goldring, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Towia A. Libermann, Harvard Institutes of Medicine
Ellen M. Gravallese, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Peter Oettgen, Harvard Institutes of Medicine

At the time of publication, Ellen Gravallese was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School


Angiogenesis is a critical component of the inflammatory response associated with a number of conditions. Angiopoietin-1 (Ang-1) is an angiogenic growth factor that promotes the chemotaxis of endothelial cells and facilitates the maturation of new blood vessels. Ang-1 expression is up-regulated in response to tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). To begin to elucidate the underlying molecular mechanisms by which Ang-1 gene expression is regulated during inflammation, we isolated 3.2 kb of the Ang-1 promoter that contain regulatory elements sufficient to mediate induction of the promoter in response to TNF-alpha, interleukin-1beta, and endotoxin. Surprisingly, sequence analysis of this promoter failed to reveal binding sites for transcription factors that are frequently associated with mediating inflammatory responses, such as NF-kappaB, STAT, NFAT, or C/EBP. However, putative binding sites for ETS and AP-1 transcription factor family members were identified. Interestingly, among a panel of ETS factors tested in a transient transfection assay, only the ETS factor ESE-1 was capable of transactivating the Ang-1 promoter. ESE-1 binds to specific ETS sites within the Ang-1 promoter that are functionally important for transactivation by ESE-1. ESE-1 and Ang-1 are induced in synovial fibroblasts in response to inflammatory cytokines, with ESE-1 induction slightly preceding that of Ang-1. Mutation of a high-affinity ESE-1 binding site leads to a marked reduction in Ang-1 transactivation by ESE-1, inducibility by inflammatory cytokines, and DNA binding to the ESE-1 protein. Transcriptional profiling of cells transiently transfected with an ESE-1 expression vector demonstrates that the endogenous Ang-1 gene is directly inducible by ESE-1. Finally, Ang-1 and ESE-1 exhibit a similar and strong expression pattern in the synovium of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Our results support a novel paradigm for the ETS factor ESE-1 as a transcriptional mediator of angiogenesis in the setting of inflammation.