The enzyme/cytokine thymidine phosphorylase/platelet-derived endothelial cell growth factor (TP/PD-ECGF) has diverse functions within cells, including the regulation of steady-state thymidine levels, the conversion of cancer chemotherapeutic agent 5-fluorouracil to an active metabolite, and the mediation of angiogenesis in normal and malignant cells. Although the level of TP/PD-ECGF expression varies substantially among different individuals, is usually elevated in colorectal tumors compared to nonmalignant tissue, and has been shown to be directly associated with poor clinical prognosis, little is known about the mechanisms for control of TP/PD-ECGF expression. TP/PD-ECGF mRNA levels are extremely low in most cell lines in vitro, including HT29 human colon carcinoma cells. IFN-α and IFN-β induced an increase in TP/PD-ECGF enzyme activity and mRNA levels. The induction of TP/PD-ECGF expression by IFN was not as strong as that of another IFN-inducible gene, 2′–5′ oligoadenylate synthetase, but in contrast to 2′–5′ oligoadenylate synthetase, TP/PD-ECGF mRNA levels remained elevated for up to 72 h. Experiments suggested that this was due to the combination of a rapid but transient increase in the rate of TP/PD-ECGF transcription that was accompanied by a more prolonged stabilization of TP/PD-ECGF mRNA. Using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay, IFN was found to rapidly and transiently induce nuclear factors that bound to a putative IFN response element in the TP/PD-ECGF promoter. The complex observed was similar but not identical to that seen using the consensus IFN-stimulated response element sequence as a target. TP/PD-ECGF mRNA also has a pyrimidine-rich sequence at its 3′ end that was similar to a motif that has been reported to mediate increased mRNA stability in other genes. These studies indicate that TP/PD-ECGF gene expression was subject to regulation by both transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms.


Supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA54422 and Cancer Center Support Grant CA13330.

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