Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Cell Sci. 1993 Jun;105 ( Pt 2):303-16.

A 300 bp 5'-upstream sequence of a differentiation-dependent rabbit K3 keratin gene can serve as a keratinocyte-specific promoter.

Author information

  • 1Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical School 10016.


Keratinocytes of the suprabasal compartment of many stratified epithelia synthesize as a major differentiation product a keratin pair, consisting of an acidic and a basic keratin, which accounts for 10-20% of the newly synthesized proteins. While genes of several differentiation-related keratins have been cloned and studied, relatively little is known about the molecular basis underlying their tissue-specific and differentiation-dependent expression. We have chosen to study, as a prototype of these genes, the gene of K3 keratin, which has the unique property of being expressed in the majority of corneal epithelial basal cells but suprabasally in peripheral cornea, the site of corneal epithelial stem cells. Using a monoclonal antibody, AE5, specific for K3 keratin, and a fragment of human K3 gene as probes, we have isolated several cDNA and genomic clones of rabbit K3 keratin. One genomic clone has been sequenced and characterized, and the identity of its coding sequence with that of cDNAs indicates that it corresponds to the single, functional rabbit K3 gene. Transfection assays showed that its 3.6 kb 5'-upstream sequence can drive a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) reporter gene to express in cultured corneal and esophageal epithelial cells, but not in mesothelial and kidney epithelial cells or fibroblasts, all of rabbit origin. Serial deletion experiments narrowed this keratinocyte-specific promoter to within -300 bp upstream of the transcription initiation site. Its activity is not regulated by the coding or 3'-noncoding sequences that have been tested so far. This 300 bp 5'-upstream sequence of K3 keratin gene, which can function in vitro as a keratinocyte-specific promoter, contains two clusters of partially overlapping motifs, one with an NFkB consensus sequence and another with a GC box. The combinatorial effects of these multiple motifs and their cognate binding proteins may play an important role in regulating the expression of this tissue-restricted and differentiation-dependent keratin gene.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk