Ethanol induces cell cycle arrest and triggers apoptosis via Sp1-dependent p75NTR expression in human neuroblastoma cells
Injury-induced expression of the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) in the CNS facilitates neuronal apoptosis and prevents neuronal regrowth, but the mechanisms regulating p75NTR expression are poorly characterized. In this study, we showed that hypo-osmolarity induces p75NTR expression in primary neurons, and, using a comparative genomics approach, we identified conserved elements in the 25 kb upstream sequences of the rat, mouse, and human p75NTR genes. We found that only one of these, a proximal region rich in Sp1 sites, responds to changes in hypo-osmolarity. We then showed that Sp1 DNA binding activity is increased in cells exposed to hypo-osmolarity, established that hypo-osmolarity enhanced Sp1 binding to the endogenous p75NTR promoter, and showed that Sp1 is required for p75NTR expression induced by hypo-osmolarity. We examined how Sp1 is regulated to effect these changes and established that Sp1 turnover is strongly inhibited by hypo-osmolarity. We propose that stress-induced Sp1 accumulation that results from reductions in Sp1 turnover rate contributes to injury-induced gene expression.