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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1991 Dec 16;181(2):818-26.

Inhibition and enhancement of eukaryotic gene expression by potential non-B DNA sequences.

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  • 1Institut Curie, Section de Biologie, INSERM U219, Paris, France.


In a transient or constitutive expression assay we have examined the effect of non-B DNA sequences d(CA)40 and d(CAAAAATGCC)n on gene expression in eukaryotic cells. These sequences were cloned adjacent to the weak eukaryotic promoter (CGTATTTATTTG) and located upstream from the coding sequence of galactokinase enzyme. Recombinants were micro-injected in cultured cells (Chinese hamster fibroblasts R1610, mutant gal-K-) and expression levels have been determined. The alternating purine-pyrimidine tract found in d(CA)40 able to assume the Z-DNA conformation shows an inhibitory effect on gene expression. In addition, our results suggest a new potential role of Z-DNA motifs in vivo to stimulate recombination. The sequences d(CAAAAATGCC)n able to adopt another non-B structure, corresponding to curved (or bended) helix conformation, strongly enhance gene expression and this enhancement depends on sequence redundancy.

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