In vitro secondary activation (memory effect) of avian vitellogenin II gene in isolated liver nuclei.
The vitellogenin II gene is specifically reactivated in vitro (secondary stimulation, memory effect) in purified liver nuclei that had ceased to express the gene in vivo a month after the roosters had received a single injection of estradiol (primary stimulation). The in vitro reactivation depends on the addition to the nuclei of nuclear and cytoplasmic extracts from estradiol-stimulated livers, polyamines (0.1-1.0 mM), and calmodulin (0.1 mM). Under identical incubation conditions the vitellogenin gene could not be reactivated in oviduct, embryonic, and immature chicken liver nuclei. Two other genes, those for ovalbumin and lysozyme, which are regulated by estradiol in the oviduct, could not be activated in the liver nuclei. The correct initiation of vitellogenin gene transcription in the liver nuclei was tested by primer extension studies. Addition of the antiestrogen tamoxifen (0.1 microM) to the system decreased vitellogenin mRNA synthesis by about 45% without affecting total RNA synthesis. Addition of quercetin (0.1 mM) and trans-flupenthixol (0.2 mM), inhibitors of nuclear protein kinase II and calmodulin-dependent kinase, respectively, inhibited the synthesis of vitellogenin mRNA by about 55% without affecting total RNA synthesis. The inhibitory effects of the antiestrogen and the kinase inhibitors were not additive, suggesting that both classes of inhibitor act on the same target or related targets. Depleting the estradiol receptors from the cell and nuclear extracts by means of estradiol-receptor antibodies covalently bound to Matrex beads reduced the stimulation of the vitellogenin gene by 40%. We conclude that in addition to the estradiol receptor and phosphorylation of nuclear protein(s) there are additional factors responsible for the in vitro secondary activation of the avian vitellogenin II gene.