Role of transcription factor NF-kappa B/Rel in induction of nitric oxide synthase.
The promoter of the murine gene encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) contains an NF-kappa B site beginning 55 base pairs upstream of the TATA box, designated NF-kappa Bd. Reporter constructs containing truncated promoter regions, when transfected into macrophages, revealed that NF-kappa Bd is necessary to confer inducibility by bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Oligonucleotide probes containing NF-kappa Bd plus the downstream 9 or 47 base pairs bound proteins that rapidly appeared in the nuclei of LPS-treated macrophages. The nuclear proteins bound to both probes in an NF-kappa Bd-dependent manner, but binding was resistant to cycloheximide only for the shorter probe. The proteins binding both probes reacted with antibodies against p50 and c-rel but not RelB; those binding the shorter probe also reacted with anti-RelA (p65). Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, which acts as a specific inhibitor of NF-kappa B, blocked both the activation of the NF-kappa Bd-binding proteins and the production of NO in LPS-treated macrophages. Thus, activation of NF-kappa B/Rel is critical in the induction of iNOS by LPS. However, additional, newly synthesized proteins contribute to the NF-kappa Bd-dependent transcription factor complex on the iNOS promoter in LPS-treated mouse macrophages.