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Mol Cell Biol. 1984 Dec;4(12):2622-30.

Enhanced gene expression by the poly(dT-dG).poly(dC-dA) sequence.


The sequence poly(dT-dG).poly(dC-dA) (TG-element) is a ubiquitous component of eucaryotic genomes and has the potential to adopt a left-handed DNA conformation (Z-DNA). In this report, we have tested the hypothesis that the TG-element can modulate gene expression. Human genomic DNA fragments (1 to 1.5 kilobases) containing a (dT-dG)n.(dC-dA)n tract (30, 40, or 50 base pairs) or chemically synthesized (dT-dG)n.(dC-dA)n fragments (50 to 130 base pairs) were inserted in the pSV2-cat (simian virus 40 enhancer plus) or pA10-cat (enhancer minus) expression vector plasmid. These constructs were transfected into CV-1 cells or HeLa cells, and their transcription was monitored by assaying chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity. The results showed that pSV2-cat with the TG-element and pA10-cat with the TG-element synthesized more chloramphenicol acetyltransferase activity (2 to 10 times, depending on the location of the TG-element) than did parental pSV2-cat and pA10-cat DNAs, respectively. Furthermore, the TG-element appeared to have characteristics similar to those of viral enhancers: (i) the TG-element enhanced transcription from a distance, (ii) its closer location to the promoter was more effective, and (iii) its orientation was not crucial. However, its enhancer-like activity was much weaker than that of the simian virus 40 enhancer, and, unlike many viral enhancers, it was equally active in monkey and in human cells. These results suggest that the TG-element may influence the expression of cellular genes.

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