The present study describes the genomic structure of the human nucleoporin GP210 gene, including its exon and intron sizes, intron/exon junctions and the 5' UTR sequence. Transcription start sites were determined experimentally by RNA ligase mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends. Analysis of the promoter sequence identified a number of putative binding motifs for factors involved in tissue- or cell -type specific gene regulation. Strikingly, we could identify five putative Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) suppressor protein binding sites, four Sp1 biding sites, and one ETS binding site in a range of 315 bases just upstream of the translation initiation site. Some of these were conserved in the mouse promoter region.
Mouse GP210 was initially identified as an early response gene to induction of embryonic kidney tubule development [10, 15], suggesting that transcription factors regulating conversion of mesenchyme to kidney tubules are involved in its activation. Transcription factors implicated in early kidney tubule development include members of the myc family, Pax-2, hox a11 and Hoxd11, lmx-1b, HNF-1a, Pod-1, and WT1 [24–29]. Except for the WT1 binding site, putative binding motifs for these factors were lacking in the promoter region of the GP210 gene. Experimentally we found that WT1 does not influence GP210 expression in human osteosarcoma cells. It is thus more likely that Sp1 and some member of the ETS transcription factor family are the positive regulators of GP210.
WT1 is a zinc finger transcription factor known to exist in different isoforms due to alternative pre-mRNA splicing. DNA binding specificity is determined by insertion or removal of three amino acids between zinc finger III and IV (referred to as WT1(+KTS) and WT1(-KTS)). The -KTS isoform have been reported to repress or activate target genes containing variations of an EGR1 related, GC-rich motif (consensus GXGXGGGXG) in their promoter . Other biological activities have been suggested for the +KTS isoform . Mutations in the WT1 gene has been shown in a small proportion of nephroblastomas, an embryonic kidney tumor, as well as in other tumor types, such as leukemia, mesothelioma and desmoplastic small round cell tumor. The restricted expression pattern in the mouse embryonic kidney and the failure of kidney development in WT1 null mice shows that WT1 is important for mesenchyme-to-epithelial transition, especially for early organogenesis of kidney and gonads . It is thus of considerable importance to identify downstream target genes for WT1. This could include the gene for GP210, but presumably not other nucleoporins. In the only previously reported nucleoporin promoter region, of mouse nup358, several binding sites for Sp1 but none for WT1 were detected [25, 30].
Sp1 is a transcription factor included in a small protein family (Sp1, Sp2, Sp3, and Sp4), whose members are binding to cis-elements widely distributed in different types of transcription control regions . Although traditionally considered as an activator for house keeping genes, it has become increasingly clear that Sp1 can act as a cell specific regulator of gene expression. Differential expression levels of Sp1 during nephrogenesis  and hematopoietic development  have been reported. Along with specific post-translational modifications, the substantial differences in the expression patterns of Sp1 suggest that Sp1 can induce specific gene expression in embryonic tissues, including GP210 in the kidney.
We also found a putative ETS-2 binding site in the mouse and human promoter for gp/GP210. Ets-2 is a widely distributed member of the ETS family of transcription factors characterized by a unique winged helix-turn-helix domain, which specifically interacts with DNA sequences containing the purine-rich core motif, GGAA/T. Since several ETS family members binds to the same core motif it has been difficult to determine specific target genes for each member, gene targeting in mice implicates ETS-2 as an activator of metalloproteinases in placenta (MMP-3, MMP-9 and MMP-13) and a regulator of hair development . Elevated ETS-2 expression can reverse ras dependent transformation in cell lines . In contrast, a high expression of ETS-2 is needed to maintain the transformed state of human prostate cells . These data suggests multiple roles for ETS-2 during development and cancer. Interestingly, a binding site for Pea3, a member of the ETS family, has been noted in the WT1 promoter, and Pea3 was found to transactivate the Wt1 promoter .
Our promoter region analyses, which identify WT1, SP1 and Ets-2 as putative transcription factors regulating GP210 expression are descriptive. GP210 expression in the developing kidney resembles that of E-cadherin, which has been show to be a bone fide WT1 target gene . WT1 A isoform, which lacks a 17 amino acid insert and the KTS insert in the zinc finger region, did not influence GP210 expression in SAOS osterosarcoma cells, in a system using tetracycline-induced repression of expression. In vivo, expression of WT1 appears very early during nephrogenesis, and is downregulated when GP210 expression increases [10, 15, 28, 29]. Based on these findings, it was difficult to predict whether WT1 is involved in the positive or negative regulation of GP210. Our data do not exclude the possibility that demonstrate that the WT1 A isoform in different setting can regulate GP210 expression. It is also possible that other isoforms of WT1 regulate GP210.
The amino acid sequence of human GP210 revealed potential sites for phosphorylation and glycosylation. The role for phosphorylation of nuclear envelope associated proteins is not well understood, but is presumed to have a function in mitotic events [37, 38]. Non-membrane nucleoporins 153, 214 and 358 are phosphorylated throughout the cell cycle, but hyperphosphorylated during cell division. In contrast, GP210, was in the same study specifically phosphorylated during mitosis and one single consensus Ser1880-Pro1881 motif could be detected as a target for cyklin-B-p34cdc2 kinase and MAP kinase in vitro . A comparison of the cytoplasmic domain in mouse, rat and human reveals that this serine-proline dipeptide located seven amino acids downstream of the carboxyl terminus is conserved. Whether the many putative phosphorylation sites in GP210 are actively regulated has to be experimentally determined. Restricted to the lumenal region of GP210, there are 12 potential putative acceptor residues for N-linked oligosaccharides. This is one residue less than in the rat homologue , but the remaining 11 seem to be located at conserved locations. The binding of GP210 to the lectin ConA suggests presence of high mannose-type oligosaccharides in mature GP210 , but there are no reports on functional aspects of this posttranslational modification.