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Abstract

The organic anion transporting polypeptide (OATP) of the basolateral hepatocyte membrane mediates multispecific uptake of anionic and other amphipathic substrates from sinusoidal blood plasma. To investigate the mechanisms controlling OATP expression, the 5′-flanking region of the human OATP gene was isolated from a P1-derived artificial chromosome genomic clone. Sequence analysis of the OATP promoter showed a number of consensus binding sites for both ubiquitous and liver-enriched transcription factors. Transfection of HepG2 cells with a series of 5′-deleted promoter-luciferase constructs identified the minimal promoter region within 91 base pairs relative to the transcription initiation site. A putative silencer element was localized in the -662/-440 region. The minimal promoter was also active in Chang liver, Madin-Darby canine kidney, and Chinese hamster ovary cells, indicating that basal promoter function is independent of liver-specific regulatory mechanisms. In transfected HepG2 cells, taurocholate (100 µmol/L) stimulated and triiodothyronine (1 µmol/L) inhibited OATP promoter activity, whereas hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, β-estradiol, estrone-3-sulfate, and testosterone had no significant effect. Reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis showed an increase in OATP messenger RNA in the livers of four patients with chronic cholestatic liver disease compared with three noncholestatic controls. The up-regulation of OATP expression by taurocholate could serve to enhance the sinusoidal efflux of toxic intracellular compounds during chronic cholestasis.