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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Apr 1;94(7):3058-63.

Uniform vascular-endothelial-cell-specific gene expression in both embryonic and adult transgenic mice.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut fur physiologische und klinische Forschung, Bad Nauheim, Germany.


TIE2 is a vascular endothelial-specific receptor tyrosine kinase essential for the regulation of vascular network formation and remodeling. Previously, we have shown that the 1.2-kb 5' flanking region of the TIE2 promoter is capable of directing beta-galactosidase reporter gene expression specifically into a subset of endothelial cells (ECs) of transgenic mouse embryos. However, transgene activity was restricted to early embryonic stages and not detectable in adult mice. Herein we describe the identification and characterization of an autonomous endothelial-specific enhancer in the first intron of the mouse TIE2 gene. Furthermore, combination of the TIE2 promoter with an intron fragment containing this enhancer allows it to target reporter gene expression specifically and uniformly to virtually all vascular ECs throughout embryogenesis and adulthood. To our knowledge, this is the first time that an in vivo expression system has been assembled by which heterologous genes can be targeted exclusively to the ECs of the entire vasculature. This should be a valuable tool to address the function of genes during physiological and pathological processes of vascular ECs in vivo. Furthermore, we were able to identify a short region critical for enhancer function in vivo that contains putative binding sites for Ets-like transcription factors. This should, therefore, allow us to determine the molecular mechanisms underlying the vascular-EC-specific expression of the TIE2 gene.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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