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J Neurosci. 1997 Oct 15;17(20):7583-93.

Identification of a novel repressive element that contributes to neuron-specific gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


Multiple signaling pathways are thought to control the selective expression of genes over the course of neuronal differentiation. One approach to elucidating these pathways is to identify specific cis-acting elements that serve as the final targets for these signaling pathways in neural-specific genes. We now identify a novel repressive element from the growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) gene that can contribute to neuron-specific gene expression by inhibiting transcription in a wide range of non-neuronal cell types. This repressive element is located downstream of the GAP-43 TATA box and is highly position-dependent. When transferred to viral promoters this element preferentially inhibits transcription in non-neuronal cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays show that the repressive element comprises at least two protein recognition sites. One of these is a novel sequence motif that we designate the SNOG element, because it occurs downstream of the TATA boxes of the synaptosomal-associated protein of 25 kDa and neuronal nitric oxide synthase genes, as well as the GAP-43 gene. The GAP-43 repressive element is distinct in sequence and position dependence from the repressor element 1/neuron-restrictive silencer element previously described in other neural genes and therefore is a likely target for a distinct set of signaling pathways involved in the control of neuronal differentiation.

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