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IL-10 is an 18-kDa cytokine with a key role in homeostatic control of inflammatory and immune responses. We have investigated how transcription of the IL-10 gene is regulated, so as to be able to understand the circumstances of IL-10 expression in both health and disease. In the mouse, IL-10 gene expression is regulated by a TATA-type promoter with a critical cis-acting element containing GGA repeats located at -89 to -77. Its complementary sequence is similar to the cis-acting elements (TCC repeats) in the promoters of genes encoding epidermal growth factor receptor and CD58. All these elements comprise a common CCTCCT sequence with less conserved C + T-rich sequences. Eliminating this CCTCCT sequence results in a marked reduction in promoter activity, suggesting a necessary role in IL-10 gene expression. Despite its dissimilarity to the G + C-rich Sp1 consensus sequence (GC box), Sp1 and Sp3 transcription factors could be shown to bind to this motif. The requirement for Sp1 and Sp3 in transcription of IL-10 was confirmed using Drosophila SL2 cells, which lack endogenous Sp factors. These results suggest that the transcription of IL-10 is positively regulated by both Sp1 and Sp3.

Original publication




Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





286 - 291


5' Untranslated Regions, Animals, Base Sequence, Cell Line, DNA-Binding Proteins, Gene Expression Regulation, Interleukin-10, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Protein Binding, Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid, Sp1 Transcription Factor, Sp3 Transcription Factor, Transcription Factors