Sauter KA, Bouhlel MA, O’Neal J, Sester DP, Tagoh H, Ingram RM, Pridans C, Bonifer C, Hume DA.
The gene encoding the receptor for macrophage colony-stimulating factor (CSF-1R) is expressed exclusively in cells of the myeloid lineages as well as trophoblasts. A conserved element in the second intron, Fms-Intronic Regulatory Element (FIRE), is essential for macrophage-specific transcription of the gene. However, the molecular details of how FIRE activity is regulated and how it impacts the Csf1r promoter have not been characterised. Here we show that agents that down-modulate Csf1r mRNA transcription regulated promoter activity altered the occupancy of key FIRE cis-acting elements including RUNX1, AP1, and Sp1 binding sites. We demonstrate that FIRE acts as an anti-sense promoter in macrophages and reversal of FIRE orientation within its native context greatly reduced enhancer activity in macrophages. Mutation of transcription initiation sites within FIRE also reduced transcription. These results demonstrate that FIRE is an orientation-specific transcribed enhancer element.