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Mol Cell Biol. Mar 1989; 9(3): 1376–1380.
PMCID: PMC362737

Fine mapping of a mouse metallothionein gene metal response element.


Metal-regulated transcription of metallothionein (MT) genes in higher eucaryotes involves multiple copies of a highly conserved 17-base-pair metal-regulatory element (MRE). We have assayed by transient transfection the ability of mouse MT-I element d (MREd) to confer metal responsivity to constructs containing the mouse MT-I TATA box and the bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase indicator gene. A single copy of MREd works bidirectionally to afford a three- to fourfold induction, and dual copies act cooperatively to yield a 10- to 20-fold response. Element d responds to the same spectrum of heavy metals as doses the complete MT gene promoter. The sequences involved in induction by metals were delineated by analyzing point mutations in MREd. While nucleotides of the highly conserved core sequence TGCPuCXC are critical, substitutions in the less conserved regions affect the induction response only marginally. These sequences include residues of a potential Sp1-binding site, suggesting that if Sp1 binds to MREd, it has little if any role in induction by metals.

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Selected References

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