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J Biol Chem. 1976 Jan 25;251(2):524-9.

Effect of estrogen on gene expression in the chick oviduct. In vitro transcription of the ovalbumin gene in chromatin.


RNA was transcribed from chromatin isolated from chick oviduct and spleen by using RNA polymerase from Escherichia coli. RNA was also transcribed from whole chick DNA using E. coli RNA polymerase. DNA complementary to ovalbumin messenger RNA (cDNAov) was then used as a hybridization probe to estimate the concentration of ovalbumin messenger RNA sequences (mRNAov) in these in vitro transcripts. Although chromatin from unstimulated chick oviduct was capable of substantial RNA synthesis, no detectable mRNAov sequences could be found in the transcript. Likewise, mRNAov sequences could not be found in RNA synthesized from spleen chromatin using E. coli RNA polymerase. However, chromatin from estrogen-stimulated chick oviducts was capable of supporting synthesis of ovalbumin mRNA. We estimate that approximately 0.01% of the RNA synthesized from estrogen-stimulated chromatin was mRNAov sequences. When RNA synthesized from chick DNA was tested with the cDNAov probe, mRNAov sequences could be detected in a concentration of approximately 10% that found in the RNA transcript from estrogen-stimulated chromatin. This was as expected if the ovalbumin gene is considered to be in the "open or derepressed" region of the estrogen-stimulated oviduct chromatin. Chromatin isolated from chicks withdrawn from hormone for 12 days was only capable of supporting mRNAov synthesis in vitro at a level of 5 to 10% of that observed in chromatin prepared from estrogen-stimulated chicks, thus indicating the requirement for estrogen to maintain the ovalbumin gene in the available or "open" state in the majority of oviduct cells. These data militate against post-transcriptional control as the primary mechanism of steroid hormone regulation of specific mRNA synthesis in the chick oviduct system, and favor primary gene derepression as the most likely mechanism for estrogen induction of ovalbumin synthesis.

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