The expression of human microsomal epoxide hydrolase is predominantly driven by a genetically polymorphic far upstream promoter.

X. Yang, Shun Hsin Liang, Denise M. Weyant, Philip Lazarus, Carla J. Gallagher, Curtis J. Omiecinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Microsomal epoxide hydrolase (EPHX1) biotransforms epoxide derivatives of pharmaceuticals, including metabolites of certain antiepileptic medications, such as phenytoin and carbamazepine, and many environmental epoxides, such as those derived from butadiene, benzene, and carcinogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons. We previously identified a far upstream promoter region, designated E1-b, in the EPHX1 gene that directs expression of an alternatively spliced EPHX1 mRNA transcript in human tissues. In this investigation, we characterized the structural features and expression character of the E1-b promoter region. Results of quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analyses demonstrated that the E1-b variant transcript is preferentially and broadly expressed in most tissues, such that it accounts for the majority of total EPHX1 transcript in vivo. Comparative genomic sequence comparisons indicated that the human EPHX1 E1-b gene regulatory region is primate-specific. Direct sequencing and genotyping approaches in 450 individuals demonstrated that the E1-b promoter region harbors a series of transposable element cassettes, including a polymorphic double Alu insertion. Results of reporter assays conducted in several human cell lines demonstrated that the inclusion of the Alu(+/+) insertion significantly decreases basal transcriptional activities. Furthermore, using haplotype block analyses, we determined that the E1-b polymorphic promoter region was not in linkage disequilibrium with two previously identified nonsynonomous single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the coding region or with functional SNPs previously identified in the proximal promoter region of the gene. These results demonstrate that the upstream E1-b promoter is the major regulator of EPHX1 expression in human tissues and that polymorphism in this region may contribute an interindividual risk determinant to xenobiotic-induced toxicities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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