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J Cell Biol. 1998 Jun 15;141(6):1291-300.

Different cis-regulatory DNA elements mediate developmental stage- and tissue-specific expression of the human COL2A1 gene in transgenic mice.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.


Expression of the type II collagen gene (human COL2A1, mouse Col2a1) heralds the differentiation of chondrocytes. It is also expressed in progenitor cells of some nonchondrogenic tissues during embryogenesis. DNA sequences in the 5' flanking region and intron 1 are known to control tissue-specific expression in vitro, but the regulation of COL2A1 expression in vivo is not clearly understood. We have tested the regulatory activity of DNA sequences from COL2A1 on the expression of a lacZ reporter gene in transgenic mice. We have found that type II collagen characteristic expression of the transgene requires the enhancer activity of a 309-bp fragment (+2, 388 to +2,696) in intron 1 in conjunction with 6.1-kb 5' sequences. Different regulatory elements were found in the 1.6-kb region (+701 to +2,387) of intron 1 which only needs 90-bp 5' sequences for tissue-specific expression in different components of the developing cartilaginous skeleton. Distinct positive and negative regulatory elements act together to control tissue-specific transgene expression in the developing midbrain neuroepithelium. Positive elements affecting expression in the midbrain were found in the region from -90 to -1,500 and from +701 to +2,387, whereas negatively acting elements were detected in the regions from -1,500 to -6,100 and +2,388 to +2,855.

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