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The melanoma growth stimulatory activity/growth-regulated protein, CXCL1, is constitutively expressed at high levels during inflammation and progression of melanocytes into malignant melanoma. It has been shown previously that CXCL1 overexpression in melanoma cells is due to increased transcription as well as stability of the CXCL1 message. The transcription of CXCL1 is regulated through several cis-acting elements including Sp1, NF-kappaB, HMGI(Y), and the immediate upstream region (IUR) element (nucleotides -94 to -78), which lies immediately upstream to the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) element. Previously, it has been shown that the IUR is necessary for basal and cytokine-induced transcription of the CXCL1 gene. UV cross-linking and Southwestern blot analyses indicate that the IUR oligonucleotide probe selectively binds a 115-kDa protein. In this study, the IUR element has been further characterized. We show here that proximity of the IUR element to the adjacent NF-kappaB element is critical to its function as a positive regulatory element. Using binding site oligonucleotide affinity chromatography, we have selectively purified the 115-kDa IUR-F. Mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry/matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization/time of flight spectroscopy and amino acid analysis as well as microcapillary reverse phase chromatography electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry identified this protein as the 114-kDa poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP1). Furthermore, 3-aminobenzamide, an inhibitor of PARP-specific ADP-ribosylation, inhibits CXCL1 promoter activity and reduces levels of CXCL1 mRNA. The data point to the possibility that PARP may be a coactivator of CXCL1 transcription.