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Mol Cell Biol. 1990 Nov;10(11):5822-9.

Negative regulation in correct tissue-specific expression of mouse mammary tumor virus in transgenic mice.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612.


Mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV) is an endogenous murine retrovirus that is expressed in the epithelial cells of the mammary and salivary glands, lungs, kidneys, and seminal vesicles and in the lymphoid cells of the spleen and thymus. Several studies have shown that the long terminal repeat (LTR) of this virus can direct the expression of reporter genes to the same tissues in transgenic mice. To determine whether multiple regulatory elements within the LTR are involved in this tissue-specific expression, we have established lines of transgenic mice containing transgenes that have deletions in the MMTV LTR. Deletions of all LTR sequences upstream of -364 or of LTR sequences from -165 to -665 both result in the expression of linked reporter genes such as the simian virus 40 early region or the bacterial enzyme chloramphenicol acetyltransferase in novel sites, such as the heart, brain, and skeletal muscle; expression of endogenous MMTV and transgenes containing the full-length LTR is not detected in these organs. Negative regulation appears to involve more than one region, since deletion of sequences between either -201 and -471 or -201 and -344, as well as sequences upstream of -364, results in inappropriate expression in heart, brain, and skeletal muscle. Therefore, a negative regulatory element(s) in the MMTV LTR can suppress transcription from the viral promoter in several different organs. This represents the first example of generalized negative regulatory elements that act in many different tissues in transgenic mice to prevent inappropriate expression of a gene.

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